Advisor admits to stealing Richmond widow’s money; shields wife, others from blame

Richmond Federal Courthouse

Richmond Federal Courthouse

Labeling his own acts as “despicable,” a Charlottesville businessman accused by the widow of a Richmond investment banker of squandering much of her family’s fortune admitted in court documents to many of the claims against him and is seeking to deflect blame away from his wife, father and former employer.

Victor M. Dandridge III on Monday filed his response to a November lawsuit filed by Richmonder Lynne Kinder, whose money Dandridge began managing after the death of her husband in 2005.

Dandridge admits in the 39-page response that he “took substantial amounts of Mrs. Kinder’s money” while his businesses in Charlottesville and Midlothian were floundering. Kinder alleges that Dandridge’s scheme diminished her assets from $6.9 million to less than $2 million, and is seeking more than $6 million in damages.

Dandridge in the filing also repeatedly denies liability on behalf of anyone other than himself, an apparent attempt to shield other defendants in the case. Those defendants include his wife Ann Claiborne Dandridge and downtown Richmond financial firm Thompson Davis & Co., where Dandridge worked as a partner from 2012 until Kinder’s attorneys began to question his actions last summer.

“(Dandridge) is solely responsible and to blame for his despicable conduct and the other defendants’ only fault would have been to have believed him,” his response states.

Kinder’s lawsuit was filed Nov. 17 in Richmond Circuit Court. It alleged Dandridge had already admitted to stealing and mismanaging the funds and claims a criminal investigation was launched by the FBI in October as a result. The FBI has said it wouldn’t confirm or deny whether an investigation was underway.

While maintaining that he’s uncertain exactly how much money was involved in his scam, Dandridge admits to lying to Kinder about withdrawals from her retirement accounts and to requesting a lien on Kinder’s home for his personal benefit.

The Thompson Davis & Co. headquarters on South Fifth Street.

The Thompson Davis & Co. headquarters on South Fifth Street.

He admits to transferring $800,000 of her money into at least two business entities he controlled, and admits to purchasing securities that were riskier than Kinder initially agreed to. He also does not deny regularly lying to her to further his scheme.

Dandridge also defended his father, Victor Dandridge Jr., friend and Charlottesville financial advisor Richard L. Booth Jr., and Virginia National Bank, arguing they are not liable for Kinder’s claims of fraudulent conveyances and unjust enrichment.

Further defending Thompson Davis, Dandridge denies Kinder’s claim that he used her money to buy his way into partnership at the firm and denies that he joined the firm to lull Kinder into “a false reassurance that his activities were legitimate.”

He argues that the firm, its founder Bill Davis and respective current and former compliance officers Kevin Rutherford and Walter Young were not aware of his “purloining” of Kinder’s assets.

He also denies that Thompson Davis “took a head in the sand approach,” to Dandridge’s activities, as Kinder claimed.

Dandridge is represented in the case by Charlottesville attorney Francis Lawrence of St. John, Bowling, Lawrence & Quagliana. Lawrence did not return calls seeking comment.

Dandridge does attempt in the filing to defend himself, as it relates to the amount of money Kinder claims evaporated.

He argues in the filing that he returned at least an additional $1.5 million to Kinder from 2007 to 2016–money that wasn’t addressed in the initial lawsuit. That includes various schooling and living expenses.

He also argues that some of Kinder’s investments lost money due to market conditions.

The saga began shortly after the death of Kinder’s husband, Carr Lanier “Trey” Kinder, a former Hunton & Williams attorney and investment banker at Wheat, First Securities and Wells Fargo who died of a heart attack. He left his wife and daughters nearly $7 million through an IRA, stock, stock options and life insurance proceeds.

Mr. Kinder and Dandridge were childhood friends from Roanoke. Dandridge was a groomsman at the Kinders’ wedding and spoke at Kinder’s funeral.

Kinder claims Dandridge contacted her days after her husband’s death, claiming he ‘owed it to Trey’ to look after her and her two young daughters, and offered to manage the family’s financial affairs.

Dandridge, who worked in Richmond for First Union in the late 1980s, was not registered as an investment advisor with FINRA or the SEC prior to his employment at Thompson Davis.

Virginia National Bank, which allegedly gave Dandridge a $2.7 million line of credit, filed its response to Kinder’s claims last week, asking the judge to dismiss it as a defendant.

Kinder claims Dandridge used her money to repay the line of credit and the bank gained unjustly received funds under fraudulent circumstances.

Dandridge denies using Kinder’s money to repay the credit, and the bank argues it did not unjustly benefit because it was unaware of Dandridge’s intent to defraud Kinder.

The bank is represented by Charles Sims of O’Hagan Meyer. Sims had no comment beyond the pleadings.

The other defendants in the case are expected to file responses this week.

Kinder is represented by Richmond attorney Mark Krudys of the Krudys Law Firm. He had no comment on Dandridge’s response.

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