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Attorney disbarred for concealing assets of client in bankruptcy

Acting on a petition filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, the Minnesota Supreme Court has disbarred Gregory Ronald Anderson, who also faces a federal prison sentence for fraudulently concealing a client’s assets in bankruptcy.

Anderson, 63, had practiced law in Willmar, Minnesota, since 1987.

Anderson represented James Rothers, former mayor of Kerkhoven, in a voluntary bankruptcy proceeding in November 2015. Rothers easily could have paid his creditors. Knowing that Rothers’ assets became property of the bankruptcy estate once the petition was filed, Anderson created fake liabilities to make it appear that Rothers was insolvent.

Anderson arranged to have a fictitious lawsuit filed against Rothers and then instructed Rothers to default in the lawsuit. There was a judgment of $608,000, and this furthered the appearance that Rothers was insolvent. Additionally, Anderson fabricated documents that showed that an Iowa company loaned Rothers $240,000. This was false.

Anderson also knew that Rothers had $100,000 in gold coins, $686,000 on deposit in bank accounts for two companies, and $455,484 in uncashed checks. In fact, Anderson had helped Rothers open one of the concealed bank accounts and drew portions of his legal fees from the other.

When the bankruptcy petition was filed, Anderson certified that all of the information presented to the court was correct and that he had no knowledge of any other assets. An FBI investigation uncovered the scheme concocted by Anderson and Rothers to conceal business assets from Rothers’ grain bin building companies from Rothers’ creditors.

Rothers avoided any prison time. He will serve probation for the bankruptcy fraud for 24 months. Rothers resigned as Kerkhoven mayor months into his term in 2017.

Anderson pleaded guilty on Aug. 8, 2022, and was convicted of fraudulent concealment of bankruptcy assets. Part of his plea agreement included a requirement that he be voluntarily disbarred.

On Dec. 7, 2022, Anderson was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 18 months in federal prison. He will serve one year of supervised release and pay a $20,000 fine.

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