A licensed West Virginia pharmacist, named by federal prosecutors in a civil lawsuit for allegedly running a large Ponzi scheme, is reportedly being investigated for the death of her husband.
The Register-Herald reports that a government official with Raleigh County told the outlet that authorities are looking closer into the death of Michael Cochran, who passed away on February 11 after supposedly hitting his head during a seizure.
Michael’s wife, Natalie Cochran, said she didn’t know investigators were taking another look into his death.
“I hadn’t heard that. I guess I’ll call my attorney and see what he can find out,” Cochran said last week while speaking exclusively with the outlet.
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Cochran denied any involvement in her husband’s death, claiming the man never recovered after hitting his head while at their home off of 4-H Lake Road in Daniels. She added that although Michael fell while at home, he didn’t die until five days later, while at a hospice center.
Cochran also denied rumors that she was home alone with her husband when he died.
“The (rumor) that he died at home is incorrect. And the fact that people are saying he died with just me, that’s incorrect. Somebody was at our house that whole time. We had two first responders at the house within 20 minutes of his seizure. We had a physician’s assistant and a state trooper at the house within 20 minutes of his fall.”
The source told the outlet that Michael’s official cause of death, which is currently ruled as accidental, will soon be changed. However, the outlet reports that Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristin Keller did not confirm or deny whether the source’s information was correct.
Natalie Cochran, a licensed pharmacist who has been charged by federal prosecutors in a civil suit with running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme, is under criminal investigation by the Raleigh County prosecutor's office in the death of her husband https://t.co/b7g0R2pKDc
— The Register~Herald (@Register_Herald) August 9, 2019
Cochran is currently facing a civil lawsuit that accuses her of scamming investors out of over $2 million, after asking for investments without a government contract.
The Cochran coupled owned Tactical Solutions Group (Tactical) and Technology Management Solutions (TMS). Natalie Cochran reportedly advertised the company as a business that provided weapons to the U.S. Department of Defense. Cochran also allegedly claimed that the company contracted with the government.
Numerous people said they invested large amounts of money with Cochran, but hardly any of them have seen a return on their investments. One man claimed that he invested over $407,000, yet has seen less than $60,000 in returns.
“As a result of her fraud, Natalie Cochran obtained millions of dollars in fraud proceeds in her personal bank account as well as the Tactical Solutions and TMS business accounts,” the complaint read, according to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
“Using these illicit proceeds, Natalie Cochran engaged in numerous transactions in violation of the money laundering laws, including transactions that resulted in the purchase of the two real properties identified for forfeiture.”
Prosecutors alleged the Cochrans were living a “lavish lifestyle.”
Shortly after she was charged in the civil suit, Natalie Cochran filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. She reportedly claimed her monthly income was a little over $500 in food stamps. She said she had $13.57 in a First Community Bank checking account, and another $8 in a checking account at the Bank of Mount Hope, according to the Register-Herald.
Meanwhile, Cochran was also accused of offering full-ride scholarships and extra spending money to select high school students but never following through on her promise.
In May, Cochran reportedly presented the “Coach Michael Cochran Legacy Scholarship” certificates to students she chose herself or to students that Michael, a youth leagues coach, knew on “a personal level.”
Three of the recipients were identified as Cochran’s family members, while six other students were from area high schools.
After Cochran filed for bankruptcy in July, the scholarships apparently disappeared. A parent of one of the students told the Register-Herald that Cochran told her child to cancel out any loans since they wouldn’t be needing them.
“We also didn’t apply for any more scholarships. We didn’t feel it was fair to other students to be applying for scholarships when we no longer needed them,” the parent told the outlet.
Cochran has made no mention about the scholarships, according to the outlet, except that the money was tied into “her business.”
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
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[Feature Photo: Natalie and Michael Cochran/Handout]