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Press Release

Chesterfield Man Sentenced for Scheme to Embezzle Funds in Law Firm Trust Account

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – A Chesterfield man was sentenced today to 108 months in prison for conspiracy and wire fraud and ordered to pay over $1.2 million in restitution to victims.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Joshua Brian Romano, 40, owned various businesses that purchased, rehabilitated, and sold homes around Richmond. He funded this work via construction loans that were held in escrow in the trust account of a Chesterfield County law firm. The loans were earmarked for use by Romano only for the purchase and rehabilitation of specific properties, and only with the lender’s express approval for each disbursement. Acting at Romano’s direction, Lindsey Epps Passmore, 39, a paralegal at the law firm, disbursed $1.2 million of a lender’s funds held in trust for Romano’s projects without receiving the lender’s approval or by misleading the lender about how the funds were to be used. The funds were then used for purposes outside the scope of the agreements with the lender.

On November 30, 2022, Passmore was sentenced to serve 14 months in prison for her role in the scheme.      

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael C. Moore prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:22-cr-26.

Updated January 19, 2023

Financial Fraud