The criminal trial of a former Daniels pharmacist who is facing a 24-count federal indictment for a Ponzi scheme has been continued until May, a spokeswoman for federal prosecutor’s office in Charleston verified Wednesday.
The trial of Natalie Cochran, 37, was originally set for Feb. 24 in U.S. Court for the Southern District in Beckley. Federal prosecutors allege that Cochran and her late husband, Michael Cochran, swindled investors out of more than $2 million through use of two businesses, Tactical Solutions Group (Tactical) and Technology Management Services (TMS).
Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Frank W. Volk approved a motion by Cochran’s attorney to postpone the trial, in order to give the defense more time to prepare. A pre-trial hearing is now set for May 5.
She faces charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, bankruptcy fraud and giving a false oath in a bankruptcy proceeding.
Many of the investors were allegedly family members, friends and acquaintances, according to statements made during a creditors’ meeting for Cochran’s bankruptcy hearing in August.
A federal magistrate placed Cochran on home confinement following her Sept. 26 arrest. Her father moved into the house to serve as her legal caretaker, and she was forbidden from leaving her 4-H Lake Road home, under the terms of her home confinement.
In December, a federal magistrate ruled that she could leave the house but must honor a curfew.
Michael Cochran died in February 2019. His body was exhumed in September, under a Raleigh County Circuit Court order requested by Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller, in conjunction with federal prosecutors.
Natalie Cochran served as treasurer of a local children’s private baseball league in 2018 and 2019. Board members allege that an internal audit of bank accounts show that she misused league funds to purchase Yeti products, football equipment, Amazon and other items not authorized by the league. The board alleges that she moved money between the league account and the Tactical account during the months she served as treasurer.
Cochran was being investigated for criminal wrongdoing in her husband’s death in September. She has not been charged with any crime in relation to his death.