Former Jefferson attorney Michelle Shepherd was indicted Monday by an Ashe County Grand Jury on 26 class C felonies totaling in excess of $3.3 million and one class H felony in excess of $59,000.
A lengthy investigation by Det. David Witherspoon of the Jefferson Police Department, Special Agent Wade Colvard of the State Bureau of Investigation, along with members of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, led to these indictments, according to a police department news release
The investigation has been ongoing since April.
Shepherd has been charged with embezzlement and obtaining property by false pretenses, Jefferson police say.
The investigation has revealed that Shepherd had multiple victims in a number of different fraudulent and illegal issues, police say. Numerous victims were identified as not having prior mortgages paid off, or did not receive monies from the sale of properties or other matters.
These individuals are: Dwight Furches (and numerous family members), Robert G. King Jr. and wife Wendy, James and Sherry Jordan, Joshua W. Johnson, Polly E. Anderson, Kennethy C. Sheets, Johnny Earl Poteat and wife Jill, Gary L. Trivette and wife Amy, Tommy McClure, Billy J. Smith and wife Erin, George W. Beitzel Jr., Highland Homes, Johanna M. Eikeland, Sandra E. Lemly, Timothy L. Fuller and wife Marjorie, Robert G. Frankwick and wife Leslie, Todd W. Holland and wife Tonya W. Houck Holland, Damon G. Shabeldeen, Charles Green Fuller, Danny Fox, Jeannie Fox, David Fox, and Carolyn Fox.
There are also more than 238 victims whom Shepherd allegedly charged clients for title insurance policies, but never purchased the policies. This led to the class H felony in excess of $59,000, police say.
Shepherd was allegedly engaged in the practice of “check kiting” involving fraudulently inflating bank balances with non-existent funds, which led to an additional 10 class C felony charges, police say.
The investigation continues and it is possible that other charges will be filed. There are also numerous civil actions being pursued against Shepherd by concerned parties. A concurrent investigation by the North Carolina State Bar has led to Shepherd tendering her license to practice law in the state.
Shepherd is being held in the Ashe County Jail under a $1.2 million secured bond.