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Ex-Virginia attorney sentenced for wire fraud, statements

November 5, 2021 GMT

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia attorney who specialized in elder law and estate planning has been sentenced to two years in prison for wire fraud and making false statements, a prosecutor said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia says in a news release that Cherie Anne Washburn, 45, of Lynchburg used money she fraudulently obtained to buy real estate and make donations to charities that her boss owned to make a favorable impression.

In 2015 and 2016, a senior care management service company referred elderly clients to Washburn to secure legal services. Washburn then entered separate power of attorney agreements, entitling her to compensation and reimbursement for expenses and services, but preventing her from using the personal property for herself.

The news release says Washburn wrote multiple checks and made wire transfers from her victims’ accounts to herself. In 2017, she tried to designate herself as beneficiary of two investment accounts which were worth approximately $288,000.

In 2018, Washburn told a mortgage lender that she was an elderly victim’s relative and that the victim gave her $40,000 to buy a home. Washburn took $45,000 from the victim’s account and deposited it in her own, the news release said.