West Virginia woman sentenced for fake investment scheme

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia woman has been sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison for pretending to be a government contractor and defrauding investors out of millions of dollars.

Natalie P. Cochran, 40, of Daniels, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Beckley for her guilty plea last year to wire fraud and money laundering.

She also was ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in restitution.

Prosecutors said Cochran tricked investors into thinking she owned two successful businesses with government contracts. She never invested the money, instead using some of it to buy a 1965 Shelby Cobra, two properties and jewelry.

Cochran, who worked as a pharmacist, also used some money to pay others a partial return on their investment, prosecutors said.