United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced Tuesday, July 23, that Shirley Watson, age 43, of Georgetown, was sentenced in federal court for her role in a multi-year scheme to embezzle funds from her employer, two family-owned real estate businesses. United States District Court Judge David C. Norton of Charleston sentenced Watson, who has no prior criminal record, to 18 months in federal prison.
In January 2019, Watson pleaded guilty to a three-count Information, admitting to two counts of Bank Fraud and one count of Tax Evasion. She admitted that beginning in 2011 and continuing up through 2016, she used her position as a bookkeeper to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars in company funds to herself. She exploited her access to company accounts, writing checks to herself and forging her employer’s signature. She also admitted that she neither reported the income to the Internal Revenue Service nor paid any related taxes.
Upon her release from prison, Watson must pay restitution in the amount of $345,337.43 to the victims and $82,825 to the IRS. Watson will also serve a three-year term of court-ordered supervision.
The case was investigated by special agents with the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Matt Austin of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.