LYNCHBURG, Va. – The owner of Lighthouse Properties of Virginia Inc. pleaded guilty to wire fraud after embezzling nearly $550,000, according to the Department of Justice.
38-year-old Timothy Darrell Penick, of Forest, Virginia, has owned and operated the real estate company since 2011 and provided property management services to clients, including homeowners’ associations and property owners.
In June 2018, Penick developed a plan to defraud several clients by getting permission from them to access their bank accounts. Once he got their banking information, he would then transfer the money to other accounts in Lighthouse Properties’ name, according to authorities.
Officials said Penick was the only authorized owner and signer of the accounts, and he used the money for purposes that weren’t beneficial to the client or approved by them.
To cover up the embezzlement scheme, authorities said Penick forged bank account statements that omitted the transactions.
“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, and a federal district court is scheduled to sentence him on Sept. 7.