CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — On Wednesday in federal court, Tim Penick, the former head of Lighthouse Properties in Campbell County, pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
Penick admitted, as part of a plea deal, that he stole money from an area homeowners’ association which was just one client among many that Penick is accused of stealing from through Lighthouse Properties who managed their accounts.
In all, Penick is accused of stealing about $1 million from more than a dozen HOA’s and other landlords.
In a video from February 2020, Penick declined to comment when WFXR News’ Len Stevens confronted him at his home.
The HOA’s say Penick gave them financial statements indicating that their accounts were just fine — even growing — while he secretly was removing money.
In some cases, the losses were staggering.
Jefferson Oaks in Forest says they were out more than $250,000.
Treasurer Bob Lemon was listening in on the hearing on Wednesday, May 5.
“Frankly, my gut reaction on the sentencing time frame, roughly two to five years, give or take, seemed light,” Lemon said.
Former Lighthouse Properties’ employee Kristi Gerhard agrees. She felt so bad for the victims that she knew and worked with.
“I’m mostly worried about the older people that I served with and helped through what I felt was going to be their nest egg for a community for a lifetime and for them to retire in,” Gerhard said. “That’s all gone and many of them had to move.”
Now, despite the plea agreement, she and Lemon both still wonder how much of the money that was taken will be given back.
Gerhard said, “Is that going to be cents on the dollar? Is it going to be dollar-for-dollar? Will they ever see it? How does someone go to jail and be able to pay $1.1 million back?”
Lemon said, “The turnover or the surrender of his assets or something is also part of the mix, but I don’t have any more insight into, like, ‘okay, how many assets does he have?’ Is it worth anything or are we going to get the $35 dollars that he’s got left in his checkbook?”
Penick is set to be sentenced on Sept. 7. He is facing between 21 and 51 months in prison, as well as restitution.