Fairmont mall operator sentenced for federal crimes

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Morgantown resident and former owner of the Middletown Mall, Dietrich Fansler, 59, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for bankruptcy fraud and tax fraud.

U.S. Attorney Bill Powell says Fansler is the managing member of Pin Oak Properties, LLC, which operated Middletown Mall in Fairmont and in September of 2019 he pled guilty to one count of fraudulent concealment of bankruptcy estate assets and one count of willful failure to pay over tax.

Fansler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2017 and collected rent from tenants until January of 2019 without depositing the money into the debtor-in-possession account of Pin Oak Properties. Fansler admitted to using some of that collected rent, approximately $225,000, for expenses unrelated to Pin Oak Properties and concealing it from the creditors of the bankruptcy estate.

Fansler also admitted to failing to pay the withheld income taxes from employees of Pin Oak Properties and another one of his companies, Villa Rentals, Inc. He admits, too, that he did not pay personal income taxes for years 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. The total loss to the IRS is more than $880,000.

Fansler was ordered to pay $225,000 in restitution to the bankruptcy trustee, as well as $880,446.82 in restitution to the IRS.