Former Lynchburg law firm sentenced for wire fraud, earning fake statements

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ/US Attorney’s Business office) – A former Lynchburg attorney, who specialized in elder regulation and estate planning, has been sentenced to two years in prison for wire fraud and earning wrong statements.

Cherie Anne Washburn, 45, engaged in a plan to defraud and receive dollars or home by fraudulent pretenses, representations or claims from aged victims, according to the US Attorney’s Business office. Proof showed Washburn made use of the cash to “enrich herself, which includes buying real estate and producing donations to charities that her boss owned in get to curry favor,” in accordance to US Lawyer Christopher R. Kavanaugh.

“This defendant took the believe in a client spots in their attorney to often act in their very best curiosity and betrayed it,” Kavanaugh explained. “Many of the victims in this situation were being more mature users of our local community, producing Washburn’s fraud plan extra egregious. I am grateful to Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Legal professional Bethany Harrison and the FBI for their work on this situation, and hopeful that the victims have some degree of closure currently.”

“Ms. Washburn acquired the rely on of her clients to commit her criminal exercise. With this responsible plea, Ms. Washburn has lastly acknowledged accountability for her steps and all those who ended up manipulated and endured losses mainly because of her deceit will see justice served,” reported Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Cost of the FBI’s Richmond Division. “FBI Richmond appreciates the partnership of the Lynchburg City Law enforcement Office and the Western District of the United States Attorney’s Business office throughout this investigation. If you suspect fraud, remember to report it to or to your nearby FBI business office.”

In 2015 and 2016, a senior care administration support firm referred elderly consumers to Washburn for the objective of getting elder-similar authorized companies, according to the US Attorney’s Place of work. Washburn then entered different Electrical power of Legal professional (POA) agreements with every single of her victims. Less than the phrases of these POAs, Washburn was entitled to realistic compensation and reimbursement for reasonable expenditures for expert services rendered, but was not permitted to use the private home of any shopper to reward herself.

In spite of these agreements and her ethical obligations, investigators stated, Washburn wrote checks and manufactured wire transfers from her victims’ accounts to herself for own profit. These checks and transfers ranged in worth from $3,025 to $45,000. Additionally, in 2017, Washburn attempted to improperly make herself the beneficiary of two financial investment accounts held by one of her victims.  At the time, these accounts experienced a blended approximate benefit of $288,000.

In April 2018, Washburn entered into an settlement to invest in a household in Lynchburg for around $219,000 utilizing monies belonging to another a person of her victims and a mortgage lender, according to Kavanaugh. To total the residence acquire, Washburn submitted a letter to Quicken Loans falsely stating she was this aged victim’s fantastic-niece and that the victim delivered Washburn with a reward of $40,000 for the order of the home. The upcoming working day, Washburn deposited $45,000 from this victim’s SunTrust Account to Washburn’s Wells Fargo account.

In addition to surrendering her license to follow legislation, Washburn pleaded guilty in July 2021 to two counts of wire fraud and 1 rely of producing a wrong statement to a mortgage loan loan provider.

Copyright 2021 WDBJ. All legal rights reserved.

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