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Former Virginia lawyer pleads guilty to obstruction

(AP) A former Virginia lawyer has pleaded guilty in connection with allegations that he wrongfully obtained $4 million in funds primarily from the bankruptcy of the LandAmerica Financial Group, federal authorities said.

Bruce H. Matson faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 22, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. He entered his plea on July 22.

Matson had his law license revoked last year after he admitted that he improperly disbursed $2.8 million in LandAmerica liquidation trust funds to himself and another lawyer. He was charged this month with corruptly obstructing and impeding proper administration of the law in an official proceeding pending before the United States Trustee Program, which is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 2019, Matson made false statements concerning allegations that he misappropriated funds as a court-appointed trustee in the bankruptcy of LandAmerica Financial Group, according to court documents. Prosecutors said a federal investigation uncovered multiple instances of Matson’s embezzlement between 2015 and 2018, totaling approximately $800,000.

The U.S. attorney’s office also said that Matson manipulated the budget for LandAmerica’s post-bankruptcy wind-down period so that he could divert residual funds to himself and others after the close of the bankruptcy, when he would no longer be subject to scrutiny by creditors and the Bankruptcy Court.

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