Florida woman admits to bankruptcy fraud involving West Virginia hotels

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 3:10 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Heather Lynn Pratt, of Fort Myers, Florida, has admitted to bankruptcy fraud, as announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Randolph J. Bernard.

Pratt, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of “Fraudulent Concealment of Bankruptcy Assets.” At the time of her offense, Pratt was employed by Emerald Grande, LLC. Per her position, she was able access to the finances of the Florida-based company. Emerald Grande operated two La Quinta Inn & Suites in West Virginia, one in Elkview and the other in Summersville, as well as a commercial property in Charleston known as the Kanawha Landing Property. Emerald Grande was a debtor in a bankruptcy case filed and pending in Clarksburg United States Bankruptcy Court.

Pratt has admitted to concealing more than $145,000. This money was embezzled from the operating account of the LaQuinta Inn & Suites in Summersville from the bankruptcy trustee. This money actually belonged to the debtor, Emerald Grande, LLC.

As a part of the plea agreement, Pratt will be required to pay restitution in the amount of $145,386.93 to the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee.

In addition to the restitution, Pratt is facing up to five years of incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and her prior criminal history.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jarod J. Douglas is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI investigated. U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided.

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