Victor M. Dandridge III pleaded guilty Wednesday to three criminal charges: two counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud.
The criminal case adds to Dandridge’s legal troubles, which began in Richmond Circuit Court last year when he was sued by Richmonder Lynne Kinder for pillaging her family’s nest egg.
That civil case hinted that the Feds were investigating Dandridge, who admitted this week to swindling not only Kinder but also Blue Ridge Bank in Luray and the Virginia Omnicron Chapter House in Charlottesville, associated with the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. The plea agreement was first reported by the Times-Dispatch.
Dandridge, who until last year was a partner at Richmond investment firm Thompson Davis & Co., admitted in court filings to diverting Kinder’s money for his own personal use and propping up his failing businesses.
He admitted in the plea to lying to Blue Ridge Bank and falsifying documents to secure a $300,000 loan.
And in bilking the fraternity, Dandridge, a UVA grad, admitted to helping the organization refinance a loan on a house it owns in Charlottesville for $330,000, even though the balance on the mortgage was only $204,000. He then had the closing agent wire the difference into his personal bank account.
The criminal case doesn’t mention Kinder by name, but refers in the first count of wire fraud to “Victim #1” and “L.K.” The details of that count match the story and timeline from the Kinder case, including the sudden death of a lifelong friend of Dandridge’s who left behind a widow, two children and a pile of money that Dandridge sought to manage.
Dandridge began managing Kinder’s money in 2006, after the death of her husband Carr Lanier “Trey” Kinder in 2005. The late Mr. Kinder and Dandridge grew up together. Dandridge was in Kinder’s wedding and spoke at his funeral.
After Kinder filed the civil suit seeking $6 million in damages, Dandridge filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on March 24 in federal court in Lynchburg and also put one of his businesses – Charlottesville-based Timberlake Lighting – into Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Kinder was that company’s largest creditor.
He was charged criminally July 5 in Richmond federal court through the so-called criminal information process, which does not require an arrest or a grand jury indictment and typically involves cooperation from the defendant.
His attorney, Fran Lawrence of Charlottesville, said in a prepared statement Dandridge “deeply regrets his actions and the terrible consequences that they have had for his victims and others.”
“He accepts sole and total responsibility for his actions,” the statement said. “He is undertaking and has undertaken efforts to assist in recovering assets for the victims, in addition to being fully transparent and cooperative with each party and the government. He pleaded guilty as charged and has committed his life after he is released from prison to paying the moneys back in full.”
He’s agreed to pay $3.1 million in restitution to Kinder, $303,000 to Blue Ridge Bank and $118,000 to Virginia Omnicron.
His attorney said he will not dispute the $6 million civil judgement that was levied this week in federal court in Lynchburg. That ruling also prevents the judgement from being discharged through the bankruptcy case.
Lawrence said Dandridge entered bankruptcy “at the request of both the U.S. Attorney and Ms. Kinder’s legal team” to expedite the process of finding assets for his victims and not in an effort to prevent Kinder from getting to his money.
He remains free on bond and will be sentenced Oct. 20 at 9:30 a.m., when he’ll face up to 20 years for each wire fraud count and a maximum of 30 years for the bank fraud charge and fines. White collar punishments are often less than the statutory maximums, particularly when the defendant cooperates.
This is a bad guy. I’m sorry you didn’t plaster his face above the article instead of an office building photo.
Public shaming is a great punishment.