A federal grand jury has charged the former office manager of a Mount Pleasant law practice with defrauding her ex-employer and Wachovia Bank over seven years.
Amanda E. Michel took $224,000 in unauthorized wages from the Mason Law Firm and electronically transferred some of the proceeds to pay personal expenses, according to an indictment filed recently in U.S. District Court in Charleston.
She is charged with one count of wire fraud.
Michel, 34, was responsible for all of Mason’s financial accounts. Prosecutors said she defrauded the personal injury practice 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 obtained with it.
The Sept. 12 indictment said Michel altered and deleted checks to conceal the payments she was making to herself from the firm’s payroll account at Wachovia. She then deposited the funds into a personal account, according to the document.
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 also went by the names Amanda Brown Sudano, Amanda E. Brown, Amanda E. Sudano and Amanda E. Shealy. Court records show she has been married three times.
In January 2011, Michel 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 earlier this week because of the federal indictment.
A court date had not been set as of Thursday.
Wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The Mason Law Firm did not respond to a request for comment.