Former Lynchburg attorney sentenced for charges of wire fraud, making false statements

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

(Photo Courtesy: MGN online)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — On Thursday, officials say a former Lynchburg attorney who specialized in elder law and estate planning was sentenced to 24 months for wire fraud and making false statements.

According to a statement from the Department of Justice (DOJ), 45-year-old Cherie Anne Washburn was part of a scheme to defraud and obtain money or property by fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises from elderly victims.

Evidence shows Washburn used the ill-gotten money to enrich herself, purchase real estate, and make donations to charities that her boss owned in order to curry favor, officials say.

“This defendant took the trust a client places in their attorney to always act in their best interest and betrayed it. Many of the victims in this case were older members of our community, making Washburn’s fraud scheme more egregious. I am grateful to Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison and the FBI for their work on this case, and hopeful that the victims have some level of closure today.”

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh

In 2015 and 2016, a senior care management service reportedly referred elderly clients to Washburn for elder-related legal services. Washburn would enter Power of Attorney (POA) agreements with her victims, which allow a reasonable compensation and reimbursement for reasonable expenses of services rendered.

However, Washburn made wire transfers and wrote multiple checks, each ranging in value from $3,025 to $45,000, from her victims’ accounts for her personal benefit.

Washburn has surrendered her license to practice law.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Lynchburg Police Department investigated this case.

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