Archives For gift funds

Cherie Anne Washburn, 44, Lynchburg, Virginia, a former attorney who specialized in elder law and estate planning, was charged today with ten counts of wire fraud, two counts of making a false statement to a mortgage lender, and one count of mail fraud.

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 elder victims C.A. and D.F. Washburn is alleged to have used the ill-gotten monies to enrich herself, including purchasing real estate and making donations to charities.

In or around March 2018, the indictment alleges, Washburn purchased a residence in Lynchburg, Va., for approximately $219,000 using monies belonging to victim C.A. 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 victim C.A. provided Washburn with a gift of $40,000 for the purchase of 111 Wyndsong Place. The gift letter also falsely stated that victim C.A. was Washburn’s great-aunt. The next day Washburn deposited $45,000 from victim C.A.’s SunTrust Account to Washburn’s Wells Fargo account.

In 2015 and 2016, a senior care management service company referred victims C.A. and D.F. to Washburn for the purpose of obtaining elder legal services. Washburn subsequently entered separate Power of Attorney (POA) 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 victim C.A. and victim D.F.’s 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 C.A.. 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 victims C.A. and D.F. These donations were made without the consent of the victims.

If convicted, Washburn faces up to 30 years in federal prison.

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.

The investigation of the case was conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Lynchburg City Police Department. Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar, Assistant United States Attorney Michael Baudinet, and Special Assistant United States Attorney and Commonwealth Attorney for the City of Lynchburg Bethany Harrison are prosecuting the case for the United States.

An indictment is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Victor Cuevas, 52, Bristol, Connecticut, was charged by information and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven, Connecticut, to conspiring with others to commit bank fraud in connection with his home mortgage loan applications.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in the summer of 2013, Cuevas, a City of Waterbury employee and, at that time, the elected state representative for the 75th assembly District to the State of Connecticut General Assembly, wanted to purchase a residence at 13 Jefferson Avenue, Bristol, Connecticut with an FHA loan.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides mortgage insurance on loans made through its FHA program and mortgages offered through the program are subject to certain restrictions, including restrictions on the funds that may be used to purchase properties.

Cuevas, with the assistance of others, represented to the mortgage bank that he was using gifted funds to purchase the property when, in fact, the money was not gifted but was instead loaned to Cuevas for the purpose of purchasing the property.

Specifically, Cuevas first represented to the mortgage bank that an individual who he identified as his nephew but, in fact, was a subordinate employee from the City of Waterbury, was providing him with cash to purchase the property as a gift.  When the mortgage lender asked for the “nephew’s” bank account statements to prove that he had the money to gift to Cuevas, Cuevas withdrew the mortgage application.  A few weeks later, Cuevas had a different Waterbury employee, who Cuevas identified as his “cousin,” “gift” him the $7,000.  Both individuals signed a HUD statement under oath that the funds were, indeed, a “gift” and that no repayment of the monies was expected.  However, as soon as the mortgage closed, Cuevas re-paid the employee the $7,000.

Cuevas pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.  Judge Meyer scheduled sentencing for September 21, 2016.

Cuevas resigned from the Connecticut General Assembly in March 2016.

The matter is being investigated by the Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force, notably the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The Task Force also includes members from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Karwan.

Kenneth Sweetman, 34, Nutley, New Jersey, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for his role in a massive mortgage fraud scheme involving multiple properties in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  Sweetman previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court: Continue Reading…