Olive Branch woman indicted for defrauding law firm out of $400K

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A federal grand jury indicted a Mid-South woman accused of defrauding the law firm she worked at for more than $400,000.

U.S. Department of Justice officials said 40-year-old Misty West of Olive Branch was employed by the Fowler Law Firm in Memphis when she committed 38 counts of wire fraud and one count of interstate transportation of monies stolen or taken by fraud.

The crimes happened between August 2011 and July 2016.

Neighbors were shocked to hear the paralegal neighbor was arrested.

"Yes, it is [shocking] especially since she was a paralegal," said neighbor Andy Horyza.

West is accused of handing blank checks to her boss for him to sign to "pay the bills." Instead, officials said West made the checks payable to herself and put them in her own bank account.

She took $308,000 this way, according to investigators.

Officials said West also obtained a debit card in the owner's name which she used to make ATM withdrawals without his knowledge. She was able to steal $90,000 this way.

West is accused of using the internet to transfer funds from the law firm's account to pay her personal cell phone bill several times in the amount of $17,000.

West faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised released on the counts of wire fraud. She faces an additional 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three more years of supervised release on the count of charging interstate transportation of monies stolen or taken by fraud.

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