Victor Dandridge III had already admitted to swindling his dead friend’s widow. In a guilty plea entered July 19 in federal court in Richmond, Dandridge owned up to defrauding Blue Ridge Bank and the company that owns the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house as well.
Dandridge pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, which each carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and one count of bank fraud, the maximum penalty for which is 30 years and a $1 million fine.
He also faced a $9 million lawsuit filed by Lynne Kinder, who alleges that after her husband died unexpectedly on New Year’s Eve 2005, Dandridge offered to manage her assets, but instead bilked her out of nearly $7 million to prop up his own failing businesses.
Dandridge owned several capital management companies, although he wasn’t licensed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission until after he joined Richmond wealth management firm Thompson Davis in 2012. He
also owned Timberlake Lighting and Huntington Learning Center franchises, and said in response to Kinder’s suit
that his businesses had been “hemorrhaging monies for years.”
In addition, he was the former president of the Farmington Country Club, Farmington Property Owners Association and the Virginia Athletics Foundation.
In the criminal plea agreement, Dandridge agreed to repay Kinder $3.2 million. He also agreed to compensate Blue Ridge Bank $302,000 for a loan based on false financial information, and to make restitution of $118,527 to Virginia Omicron Chapter House Association. While Dandridge was president of that organization, he refinanced the Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat house on Madison Lane, which owed $204,000 on its existing mortgage, for a new $330,000 loan, funneling the excess to his personal bank account.
In a July 17 consent order in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Lynchburg, Dandridge agreed that Kinder’s $6 million claim will not be exempt in his bankruptcy filing.
“Mr. Dandridge deeply regrets his actions and the terrible consequences that they have had for his victims and others,” says his attorney, Fran Lawrence, in a statement. “He accepts sole and total responsibility for his actions. 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.”
Dandridge has “committed his life after he is released from prison” to paying the monies back in full, says the statement.
According to Lawrence, Dandridge filed for bankruptcy at the behest of the U.S. attorney and Kinder’s attorney to document the assets he has, and “not with the purpose of having any discharge” of his debts.
Her lawyer, Mark Krudys, declined to comment.
When Kinder filed her lawsuit in November 2016, she named multiple defendants, including Dandridge’s wife and father. In a response, Dandridge admitted to the swindling and insisted the other defendants had nothing to do with his unauthorized use of Kinder’s assets.
In her suit, Kinder says of the $6.9 million she entrusted to Dandridge, she’d recovered only $735,000.
Dandridge will be sentenced October 20 and is free on bond until then.