A former Leesburg attorney has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud following multiple allegations of embezzling from estates and civic organizations.
J. Christopher Chamblin had a private law practice in downtown Leesburg prior to having his license to practice law revoked by the Virginia State Bar in the fall of 2019. The son of retired Loudoun Circuit Court Judge James H. Chamblin, the younger Chamblin testified in an October 2019 affidavit that he had misappropriated more than $850,000 from several estates for which he had been appointed by the Circuit Court to serve as administrator.
According to a June 16 federal court filing, Chamblin abused his position of trust as administrator of the estates to embezzle funds from at least five estates, including by writing himself checks drawn on the estates’ bank accounts, depositing those checks into his own bank personal accounts, and then spending the funds for his own personal benefit.
He was also accused of embezzling funds from two unnamed civic organizations, for which he served as treasurer. A court filing notes that Chamblin embezzled $3,000 from one organization, and $7,500 from the other. Although the two organizations are not named in court filings, an undated post on the Loudoun Therapeutic Riding Foundation listed him as treasurer for both that organization and the Leesburg Lions Club. Loudoun Therapeutic Riding Foundation has said it was not one of the organizations affected by Chamblin’s misconduct. Chamblin is also listed as being removed as a treasurer for Conversations with Oatlands on a corporate database website.
The wire fraud charge stems from Sept. 17, 2019, when Chamblin allegedly caused a check in the amount of $20,000 to be issued that was drawn on a bank account held in the name of one of the trusts he oversaw. On or about that same date, Chamblin deposited the check into his business bank account, causing an interstate wire communication between Washington, DC, and Virginia.
Court filings indicate that Chamblin repaid some of the funds he embezzled back to the trusts, with interest, but the repayments likely stemmed from embezzling from other estates. In the signed affidavit consenting to his law license revocation, Chamblin indicated that untreated depression was likely a contributing factor to his misconduct.
Chamblin’s sentencing is set for Sept. 28. He faces up to 20 years in prison, and must forfeit property or other valuables to repay the estimated amount of the proceeds arising the embezzlements, $866,953.23.