Woman charged with defrauding Memphis law firm out of $400,000

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An Olive Branch woman is charged with defrauding a law firm and its owner of more than $400,000. 

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Misty West, 40, was the office manager, bookkeeper and paralegal at the Fowler Law Firm. 

The business is located on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Memphis. 

Over an almost 5-year period, West was stealing from her place of work. 

According to the release, the bulk of the money came from a blank check scheme. 

"West presented blank checks drawn against the firm’s Suntrust Bank account and asked Fowler to sign the checks telling him she needed to pay the firm’s bills.  Fowler signed the checks in blank and West completed the payee information and the amounts.  The indictment alleges that West routinely made some of the checks payable to herself and deposited them to her Suntrust account and used the funds to pay her personal bills and expenses," the release said. More than $308,000 was stolen. 

West also fraudulently obtained a debit card, and spent an estimated $90,000. 

She faces a maximum of 20 years in jail, $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release.