Bruce Matson, former lawyer for LeClairRyan struck off bar, charged in criminal case

Bruce Matson is a former lawyer for LeClairRyan who was struck off the bar last year. (BizSense File)

Bruce Matson, a veteran Richmond lawyer who was struck off the bar last year for mismanaging millions of dollars in a major bankruptcy case, has been criminally indicted by federal prosecutors.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Matson on Thursday with one count of obstructing formal proceedings related to his work as a trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of title insurance giant LandAmerica based in Henrico while working for the firm of lawyers LeClairRyan.

The brief two-page dossier states that Matson “corrupted, hindered and impeded, and endeavored to influence, hinder and impede, the correct and proper application of the law under which a proceeding in course was initiated before an agency in the United States. , it is the administrators program of the United States.

The US Trustee Program is a component of the Department of Justice.

Matson was indicted via the Criminal Information Process, which does not require an indictment before a grand jury and generally involves the cooperation of the accused. Matson has not been arrested on charges.

He remains free at least until his initial court appearance at 10:30 a.m. on July 22 before trial judge Mark Colombell. This procedure will include a detention hearing. He will then immediately go to Judge John Gibney for an arraignment and a plea bargain hearing.

A summons issued in the case indicates that Matson intends to plead guilty.

Matson is represented in the criminal case by McGuireWoods attorney Brandon Santos, who declined to comment.

The record claims the alleged obstruction took place from August 25 to November 25. 25, 2019, but no further details of the offense are included.

The charge comes more than a year after it was revealed in bankruptcy court that Matson falsely withdrew nearly $ 3 million from the LandAmerica liquidation account and deposited it into his personal bank accounts and the one of an associate.

Matson, who spent much of his 40-year legal career as a bankruptcy trustee, oversaw the complex LandAmerica case from the collapse of the Henrico-based title insurance giant in 2008 until its conclusion. apparently successful in 2015.

But in August 2019, it was discovered that the liquidation fund had been emptied. These funds were not to be disbursed until the end of the liquidation period in 2021.

Matson eventually admitted to withdrawing the money from the trust account and was removed from his role as trustee of the LandAmerica case, despite his objections. He has since repaid the funds to the estate and has also been struck off the bar of the state of Virginia, ending his legal career.

He also recently paid an additional $ 577,000 to the LandAmerica estate for reasons that were not explained in the bankruptcy court records.

The funds missing from the trust account were discovered by Protiviti, who works as a financial advisor on bankruptcy cases including those of LandAmerica and, more recently, LeClairRyan.

The law firm that Matson had worked for for many years went bankrupt in September 2019. This case continues to unfold, with the trustee attacking many of the firm’s former lawyers, including Matson. The trustee recently won a bid to keep the terms of a settlement with Matson confidential, despite objections from one of the biggest creditors in the case.

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