UPDATE: Natalie Cochran releases statement after pleading guilty

UPDATE: Monday, September 21, 2020, at 3 pm – BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Natalie Cochran has released a statement to WOAY following her guilty plea in federal court today.

The statement reads as follows:

In the interest of my family and children, I have decided to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of unlawful monetary transaction in relation to the companies, owned by my husband and I. I realize that I am responsible for any action taken by the companies as a controlling member. I look forward to the day I am provided the opportunity to go into more detail regarding the events that have transpired in the last few years. It is my goal that every investor be made financially whole in regards to their interactions with the businesses and that my children and I can finally put this behind us and move forward with our lives.

UPDATE: Monday, September 21, 2020, at 11:50 am – BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Natalie P. Cochran, 39, of Daniels, pled guilty in federal court today to fraud charges, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Cochran, a Raleigh County pharmacist and owner of two companies in Beckley – Technology Management Solutions (TMS) and Tactical Solutions Group (TSG) – pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.   Pursuant to her plea agreement, Cochran also agreed to pay nearly $2.6 million in restitution to her victims and to forfeit her interest to the United States in the assets she obtained through her fraudulent activities, including two pieces of real property, a 1965 Shelby Cobra, multiple vehicles, pieces of jewelry, and nearly $45,000 seized from her business’ bank account.

“Today, Natalie Cochran admitted and pled guilty of committing the federal crimes of wire fraud and money laundering,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “In terms of this agreement, trust me, this is a difficult day for Natalie Cochran. Not only could she be sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, Cochran agreed to forfeiture of a substantial amount of cash and assets.  Cochran also waived her right to appeal.  Cochran pled guilty. I am pleased that this agreement results in the goal I have in every case – justice for victims and taxpayers.”

Cochran admitted that from approximately June 2017 through at least August 22, 2019, she knowingly defrauded and took money and property from individuals, a financial institution and several other companies. She induced them to invest in TMS and TSG and in phony government contracts by making false misrepresentations regarding her and her companies’ experience and purported success as government contractors.  Cochran further admitted that she convinced at least 11 people to invest approximately $2.5 million in alleged government contracts. The investors paid through personal checks, cashier’s checks and wire transfers. She also convinced an investor to send $511,920 through a wire transfer from North Carolina. She further admitted she never invested the money she received but put it into her personal and business bank accounts for personal purposes unrelated to the investments. Cochran admitted to using investor funds to make numerous purchases over $10,000, including withdrawing more than $37,500 to purchase a 1965 Shelby Cobra. She also admitted to knowing that at least one of her investors suffered a financial hardship as a result of her scheme.  In order to keep up appearances, Cochran admitted to using some investors’ funds to pay other investors a partial return on their investment.

Cochran faces up to 135 months in prison when sentenced on January 4, 2021.

The West Virginia State Police, the United States Secret Service, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG) conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen Robeson and Greg McVey are handling the prosecution.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:19-cr-00247.

UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A former pharmacist has reached a plea deal with the feds.

Natalie Cochran is set to plead guilty to two counts out of a 26 count indictment. Cochran will plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of unlawful monetary transactions.  The plea agreement allows for the other 24 counts to be dropped.

Stay with WOAY for further updates.

UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A trial date against a local pharmacist has been delayed.

Natalie Cochran was scheduled to have a pre-trial hearing today, and a trial date was set for February 24, 2020.  The defense will have more time to prepare for a trial.

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at 10 am, and a trial date is set for Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 9 am.

UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A local pharmacist who has been on home confinement for around 2 1/2 months receives an early Christmas gift.

Natalie Cochran will be released off of home confinement effective Wednesday, December 18, 2019, exactly one week before Christmas.   Cochran will be placed on home detention, which will allow her to work and transport her kids to and from school, which the family says has been a burden.

Cochran’s mother, Daphne Jessup, tells WOAY: “This was a huge answer to prayers for our family, and she is beyond thankful.”

Natalie Cochran is accused of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi-scheme.  Cochran’s pretrial hearing is now scheduled for February 4, 2020, and a trial date is set for February 24, 2020.

UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A trial date against a local pharmacist has been delayed.

Natalie Cochran is accused of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi-scheme.  Cochran’s pretrial hearing is now scheduled for February 4, 2020, and a trial date is set for February 24, 2020.

This will give the defense more time to prepare for the case.

UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Natalie Cochran to be released from jail and placed on home confinement.

Judge Aboulhosn ruled that Cochran could be placed on home confinement after posting a 10,000 unsecured bond.

UPDATE: DANIELS, WV (WOAY) – Natalie Cochran had her first court appearance in Bluefield and will remain in jail until next week.

An initial appearance and detention hearing was held today in U.S. District Court in Bluefield.  Judge Aboulhosn overheard the appearance and ruled that Natalie Cochran be held in custody by U.S. Marshals through at least next Monday.

The case is continued until Monday, September 30th, 2019, at 10 a.m. in Beckley.

The government argued that Cochran was a flight risk.  Her attorney, Rhett Johnson, says Cochran is not a flight risk and that there are conditions that would assure Cochran’s appearance.   The judge didn’t think a landline phone could be in place in 24 hours.  The judge would allow probation to inspect the home and set up on home confinement.

DANIELS, WV (WOAY) – A local pharmacist in Raleigh County was taken into custody this morning.

Daphne Jessup, Natalie Cochran’s mother, tells WOAY that she was taken into custody this morning.  Jessup tells WOAY that two police cars with 5 police officers, including secret service, showed up at the house at 6:30 am.  Natalie was getting her children ready for school when they took her into custody.

Cochran, along with her late husband Michael, is accused of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi-scheme.

Stay with WOAY News for further updates on this developing story.

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com