Winfield attorney sentenced to probation

By Lawrence Smith | Sep 3, 2010

HUNTINGTON –- Instead of jail, a federal judge has sentenced a Putnam County attorney to probation for his role in concealing assets in a bankruptcy case.

U.S. District Judge Robert C. "Chuck" Chambers on Aug. 26 sentenced Patrick B. Anderson to 48 months probation following his conviction on April 30 on charges of bankruptcy fraud, and fraudulent transfer and concealment of assets. The terms of Anderson's probation include three months in a federal halfway house, and six months home confinement.

In addition to probation, Chambers order Anderson to pay $2,200 in fines, and special assessments.

Anderson faced a maximum of 10 years in prison with three years supervised release, and a $500,000 fine.

In October, Anderson was indicted on the charges following a two-year investigation by the FBI. The indictment alleged that Anderson, 54, a Winfield attorney, transferred property belonging to Herman and Peggy Matney of Poca to their daughter so it would be unavailable to creditors when the couple filed for bankruptcy.

Records show Anderson filed the Matney's petition on May 1, 2007. The next day Peggy Matney wrote a letter to the bankruptcy trustee saying the petition was filed without their consent.

A week after his conviction, Anderson's court-appointed attorney David Bungard filed a motion for Chambers to either enter a judgment of acquittal or grant a new trial based on insufficient evidence that Anderson committed fraud. In his petition, Bungard said Anderson admitted to preparing a deed to transfer the Matney's property to their daughter, but it was done at their request.

Fearing the loss of their home on Harmon's Branch Road, the Matneys wanted it to remain in their family. The deed Anderson prepared, Bungard said, gave the Matneys a life interest in their property which enabled them to remain in it until their deaths which at such time ownership transferred to Melissa Davis, their daughter.

However, Chambers on Aug. 4 denied Bungard's motion. He cited, among other things, the credibility of the Matney's testimony, and the fact that Anderson filed the petition knowing it contained errors.

In addition to spending time at the halfway house, and on home confinement, Chambers ordered that Anderson not practice law during the time he's on probation. An ethics investigation by the state Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel relating to Anderson's actions in the Matney case is still pending.

When contacted by The West Virginia Record, Bungard declined to comment. Also, he was uncertain about filing an appeal.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, case number 09-cr-233

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