Forest business owner pleads guilty to wire fraud
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A Forest man pleaded guilty Wednesday in connection with an embezzlement scheme of more than $550,000.
38-year-old Timothy Darrell Penick was the owner and operator of Lighthouse Properties of Virginia, Inc. beginning in 2011, according to the US Attorney’s Office. The company provided real estate management services to its clients, including homeowners’ associations and property owners. According to court documents, beginning in June 2018, Penick created a scheme to defraud multiple clients. He received authorization from clients to directly access their bank accounts and would then transfer money to other accounts in LHP’s name. He used the funds for unauthorized purposes which did not benefit the clients.
Penick created fraudulent bank account statements that omitted transactions from the client accounts into the LHP accounts in order to hide his misuse, according to court documents. Those statements would then be used to create financial packets given to clients and their representatives.
“Penick violated his clients’ trust when he defrauded them. This behavior is a serious federal crime and simply won’t be tolerated,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bubar. “I’m proud of the work of our state and federal law enforcement partners that brought Penick to justice and will provide the victims in this case with restitution for the crimes committed against them.”
Penick pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced September 7, 2021. The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI are investigating the case.
“Mr. Penick manipulated his clients and went to great lengths to conceal his criminal activity. With this plea, Mr. Penick accepts responsibility for his actions and the clients have the justice they deserve,” said Stanley M. Meador, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division. “We are grateful for the partnership of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office’s - Western District of Virginia in this investigation.”
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