Ex-Mount Pleasant law firm manager pleads not guilty to fraud
A former Mount Pleasant law firm manager has pleaded not guilty to defrauding her ex-employer and a bank out of about $224,000 over a seven-year span.
Amanda E. Michel remains free on a $50,000 unsecured bond. She pleaded not guilty at a hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston, filings show,
A federal grand jury charged the former office manager at The Mason Law Firm with one count of wire fraud earlier this month. According to the indictment, Michel paid herself about $224,000 in unauthorized wages and electronically transferred some of the money to pay personal expenses.
Michel, 34, was responsible for all of Mason’s financial accounts. Prosecutors said she defrauded the firm from 2003 until August 2010 “by means of false pretenses and representations.”
Prosecutors are seeking to seize the money and any property or other belongings she obtained with it.
The Sept. 12 indictment said Michel altered and deleted checks to conceal the payments she was making to herself from the law firm’s payroll account at Wachovia Bank. She then deposited the funds into a personal account, according to the grand jury’s findings.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office identified four wire transfers that Michel made from October 2007 to April 2010. The payments to American Express, HBSC Card Services and buycostumes.com totaled about $2,900.
At various times, Michel went by the names Amanda Brown Sudano, Amanda E. Brown, Amanda E. Sudano, and Amanda E. Shealy. She has been married three times, public records show. In January 2011, she was charged in state court with breach of trust with fraudulent intent involving $10,000 or more. That case, which listed Lexington as her residence, was dismissed once federal authorities filed their indictment. Wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.