RICHMOND — A Richmond man who looted $2.5 million from his parents’ trusts intended for charities and inheritance for himself and three siblings was sentenced to four years in prison this morning.
Barton C. Pasco, 58, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was sentenced at the high end of the federal sentencing guidelines by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr., who noted there are sentencing laws that “hammer” crack cocaine and other drug dealers.
“The word needs to get out in Richmond that we’re not going to tolerate white collar crime,” said Gibney. “What he did was an assault on his family… and it was tragic,”said the judge.
Dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit and wearing ankle chains, Pasco apologized to his two brothers and sister, acknowledging that because of his actions they will have less comfortable retirements.
But, he said, “The biggest loss is to me. I’ve lost my family, your honor. You all have always been there for me.”
According to court documents, Pasco is a 1973 graduate of Benedictine High School and graduated from the Virginia Military Institute with a degree in economics in 1979. He has spent much of his life active in area charities and his church.
In pleading guilty, Pasco admitted that from 1997 to July 2010 he had power of attorney and served as trustee for several trusts created by his parents, John G. Pasco Jr. and Nell Pasco. Nell Pasco died in 2000 and John Pasco Jr. earlier this year.
Starting around 2000 he began stealing money from the trusts to benefit himself and his family.
Heather L. Hart, an assistant U.S. attorney, asked Gibney to impose a prison term toward the high end of the federal sentencing guidelines. The trusts were intended to benefit his parents during their lives, their descendants and several charities.
Pasco betrayed that trust, she said.
James Pasco, a brother, told Gibney that, “I expected to inherit nearly $1 million.” Instead, it appears the amount will be $98,000. “The rift in the family is painful. But it’s impossible not to react to being so horribly mistreated,” he told the judge.
Another brother, John Pasco III, said it has cost about $750,000 to pay professional fees, back taxes, fines and penalties as a result of his brother’s mishandling of the accounts.
Instead of the charities receiving $1.7 million, only $347,000 remained to donate, he said. “He embarrassed and sullied the Pasco name,” said John Pasco.
Pasco’s lawyer, Charles Gavin, asked for a lower sentence, citing his client’s lack of a prior criminal record, his charity and church work and serious health problems that include diabetes and heart issues.
However, Gavin conceded that everything Pasco’s brothers and sister said was true.
Gibney said, “Clearly Mr. pasco had a side of himself that cared about his community and family. But… under the veneer there was someone who was engaged in continuous, irresponsible theft over a long period of time.”
Before adjourning, he addressed Pasco’s siblings. “It’s important to remember at all times that Barton Pasco is your brother, blood kin. You’re not going to have another youngest brother in your family.”
Richmond man who looted his family trusts sentenced to 4 years in prison
August 16, 2013