Former Lynchburg attorney indicted on wire, mail fraud, false statement charges
A federal grand jury sitting in U.S. District Court in Roanoke has indicted Cherie Anne Washburn, a former attorney who specialized in elder law and estate planning, on federal wire fraud, mail fraud, and false statement charges.
Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar and David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division made the announcement today following the defendant’s initial court appearance.
Washburn, 44, of Lynchburg, is charged with 10 counts of wire fraud, two counts of making a false statement to a mortgage lender, and one count of mail fraud.
If convicted, Washburn faces up to 30 years in federal prison.
According to court documents, from around 2015 and continuing until 2018, Washburn engaged in a scheme to defraud and obtain money or property by fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises from two elder victims.
Washburn is alleged to have used the ill-gotten monies to enrich herself, including purchasing real estate and making donations to charities.
In 2015 and 2016, a senior care management service company referred the victims to Washburn for the purpose of obtaining elder legal services. Washburn subsequently entered separate power of attorney agreement with both victims.
Under the terms of both POAs, Washburn was entitled to reasonable compensation and reimbursement for reasonable expenses for services rendered but could not use the personal property of the client to benefit the attorney.
The indictment alleges that despite the agreement, Washburn wrote multiple checks from the victims’ accounts to herself for personal benefit. These checks ranged in value from $4,200 to $40,000.
Additionally, the indictment alleges that in 2017, Washburn attempted to improperly make herself the beneficiary of two investment accounts held by one of the victims. At the time, these accounts had a combined approximate value of $288,000.
Throughout 2017, the indictment alleges that Washburn made charitable donations using money fraudulently obtained from the victims.
These donations were made without the consent of the victims.
In or around March 2018, the indictment alleges, Washburn purchased a residence in Lynchburg for approximately $219,000 using monies belonging to one of the victims and a mortgage lender. In order to complete the purchase, on or about April 22, 2018, Washburn submitted a letter to Quicken Loans falsely stating that the victim provided Washburn with a gift of $40,000 for the purchase of 111 Wyndsong Place.
The gift letter also falsely stated that the victim was Washburn’s great-aunt.
The next day Washburn deposited $45,000 from the victim’s SunTrust Account to Washburn’s Wells Fargo account.