Owner of Lighthouse Properties Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Forest, Virginia, man, who owned and operated Lighthouse Properties of Virginia Inc., [LHP], pleaded guilty yesterday in connection with an embezzlement scheme in excess of $550,000.
According to court documents, Timothy Darrell Penick, 38, owned and operated LHP since approximately 2011. LHP provided real estate management services to clients, including homeowners’ associations and property owners. Beginning in June 2018, Penick devised a scheme to defraud multiple LHP clients. He obtained authorization from clients to directly access client bank accounts and would then transfer funds from those accounts to other accounts in LHP’s name. Penick was the only authorized owner and signer on these LHP accounts. Penick used these funds for purposes that were not authorized by the clients and did not benefit the client.
To conceal the misuse of client funds, Penick created fraudulent bank account statements that omitted transactions from the client accounts into the LHP accounts. These fraudulent bank statements would then be used to create financial packets provided to clients and client 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.”
“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.”
Penick pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 7, 2021. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Baudinet is prosecuting the case.