The owner of Lighthouse Properties of Virginia, a Campbell County-based real estate management company, has pleaded guilty to fraud in what prosecutors said was an embezzlement scheme involving theft of more than $550,000.
Timothy Darrell Penick, 38, of Forest, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in the U.S. District Court in Lynchburg by way of video conference Wednesday — the same day the charge was filed against him, according to online court records.
Penick founded the company in 2011 and started “a scheme to defraud” several clients, which included homeowners’ associations and property owners, in mid-2018, according to a Thursday news release from the United States Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Virginia.
He directly accessed bank accounts of the company’s clients and transferred money to other accounts he controlled, the news release states. He’d then create fraudulent bank statements for those clients that concealed those transfers, which weren’t individually authorized and didn’t benefit the clients.
Bob Lemon said he became treasurer of Jefferson Oaks Property Owners Association shortly after the association realized it had lost about $250,000 to Penick and his company. Most of the money taken was reserve funds the association had built up for building and grounds maintenance of the homes in its Forest neighborhood, and he said he’s still unaware of how it was used or spent.