lawyer accused of stealing more than $3.9 million from clients and employees | USAO-MD

Baltimore, Maryland — A federal grand jury returned an indictment on August 16, 2022, charging Matthew C. Browndorf, 51, of Irvine, Calif., with four counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering resulting from a scheme to defraud clients and employees of a foreclosure law firm he owned by stealing more than $3.9 million. Browndorf is currently scheduled to have a first appearance on September 2, 2022 in US District Court, Greenbelt.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Davis of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General.

According to the indictment, Browndorf, a licensed attorney, was a partner in a California law firm and managing director of Plutos Sama, LLC, a limited liability company organized in Delaware but primarily located in California.

As stated in the indictment, Plutos Sama owned BP Fisher Law Group, LLP, a law firm located in Prince George’s County, Maryland, which represented mortgage lenders and servicers in foreclosure and default proceedings in Maryland and the District of Columbia. BP Fisher acted as an alternate trustee for lenders and mortgage managers who had legally passed foreclosure proceedings on properties in Maryland that were in default. The proceeds of these seizures would be transferred to BP Fisher’s trust accounts.

The indictment alleges that once the proceeds of the seizures were deposited into BP Fisher’s trust account, Browndorf transferred or directed the transfer of those funds out of the trust account and into other controlled accounts. by Browndorf, when these funds should have been paid to BP Fisher. clients. The indictment further alleges that Browndorf also ordered the transfer of funds out of BP Fisher’s operating accounts, which often prevented BP Fisher from paying its ordinary business expenses, including employee payroll, employee health insurance benefits and employee retirement benefits. Browndorf allegedly used the stolen funds to pay for his personal expenses, the personal expenses of his family members, or expenses incurred by Plutos Sama. Finally, the indictment alleges that Browndorf stole more than $3.9 million.

If convicted, Browndorf faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud and a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for each count of money laundering. Actual sentences for federal crimes are generally lower than the maximum sentences. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

An indictment is not a verdict of guilty. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in subsequent criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and FHFA OIG for their work in the investigation. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew P. Phelps and Stephanie Williamson, who are prosecuting the federal case.

For more information about the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and the resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md /community-outreach.

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