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Henrico ex-lawyer indicted for embezzlement

A former attorney in Henrico County has been indicted for an alleged embezzlement that already had cost him his license to practice law.

William O. Smith, 70, appeared briefly today in Henrico Circuit Court and is expected to enter a plea on the charges on Sept. 28, according to Deputy Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Thorne-Begland, the special prosecutor in the case.

As we reported in June, Smith cooperated with Virginia State Bar officials and with law enforcement in their investigation of the misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars from escrow accounts related to a title insurance agency. He surrendered his law license in June rather than contest allegations that he had violated legal ethics.

Thorne-Begland said the net loss to Bank of America is $1,065,227. The actual amount misappropriated is much larger than that because Smith floated money from one account to the other in an effort to cover up the embezzlement, the prosecutor added.

Smith was the owner-operator of the agency, Montbrook Title LLC. The agency’s primary client was LandSafe Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America that provides real estate settlement services.

Montbrook’s main office is in Glen Allen, and Smith conducted residential real estate settlements and foreclosures of homes financed by Bank of America in Virginia and Maryland.

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