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Local homebuilder awaits conviction for bankruptcy fraud

Local homebuilder William Romm III faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for a single count of mail fraud. (Photos BizSense file and courtesy of LinkedIn)

It turns out that it is not acceptable to secretly buy a boat during its bankruptcy proceedings.

That’s part of what got local homebuilder William Romm III into legal hot water, as he now awaits sentencing in a bankruptcy fraud case.

Facing a maximum of 20 years for a single count of mail fraud, Romm was due to be sentenced this month, but the date was recently extended until October.

He pleaded guilty in April and admitted to hiding more than $400,000 from the trustee and creditors in his personal bankruptcy case.

Romm, 44, is a resident of Henrico County and previously ran Romm Custom Homes and Millstone Builders.

Before filing for bankruptcy in January 2019, Romm struggled with his home building business in 2016. While building in the Cameron at Gray Oaks neighborhood near Wyndham in Henrico, Romm lost land to foreclosure and was sued by some of his clients. who had ended up with unfinished houses.

His troubles with the federal government began after he apparently managed to emerge from bankruptcy in 2020. That was until it was discovered that he had repeatedly lied about his financial affairs, violating federal codes of bankruptcy.

Federal prosecutors have concluded that Romm hid the fact that he inherited real estate when his father died, then hid proceeds from the sale of that real estate and a life insurance policy. to his father.

Romm, a graduate of Godwin High and VMI, also claimed in bankruptcy court that he was single, when in fact he had recently married and secretly opened bank and investment accounts in his wife’s name. woman then.

He used the secret brokerage account to trade stocks with his father’s hidden real estate products.

“To ensure that the bankruptcy court and the trustee were unaware of his financial activities, Romm also knowingly filed false documents with the bankruptcy court and made false statements under oath,” the government said. .

Then he had his new wife open a bank account which he used to “perform various personal transactions out of the sight and knowledge of the trustee in bankruptcy”, and repeatedly forging her signature.

While court documents say the marriage was short-lived, Romm had time to buy a 2018 25-foot Parker boat for $108,000 and register it in his wife’s name, “although the ship , in truth and in fact, was owned and used exclusively by Romm.

Romm filed for personal bankruptcy under Chapter 13 in January 2019. The case was later converted to Chapter 7 and was ultimately dismissed in August 2020.

Prosecutors found that Romm ultimately hid more than $400,000 in assets. He was charged on April 8 and pleaded guilty a few weeks later. He was not arrested as part of the charge and remained free on personal bail and had to surrender his passport.

In addition to a potential prison sentence, Romm faces a fine and a maximum of three years of probation. He agreed to forfeit $403,000, which is the proceeds of his offences.

He is due to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. on October 6 before Judge Henry Hudson.

Romm is represented in the case by Richmond attorney Bill Dinkin. In an email to BizSense last week, Dinkin said he should consult with his client before commenting on the matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Garnett is prosecuting the case.