UPDATE: Former Charleston lawyer pleads guilty to embezzlement charges

Published: Mar. 14, 2017 at 11:50 AM EDT
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UPDATE 6/26/18 @ 12:34 p.m.

A once prominent lawyer in Charleston has pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges.

Richard Martin, who was a personal injury attorney based in Charleston and Beckley, pleaded guilty Monday in Kanawha County Circuit Court to three felony offenses of embezzlement by a fiduciary.

Part of the plea deal requires Martin to make restitution to all of the victims.

Each of the counts carries a possible sentence of one to ten years in prison. He will be sentenced in October.

21 charges were in the original indictment.

Prosecuting Attorney Charles Miller says Martin would put in his attorney retainer agreements language, allowing him to "endorse and deposit checks received from insurance settlements into his IOLTA account."

Martin would then withdraw the money from those accounts and deposit the funds into his personal account then use the money for his own purposes, Miller said.

"He defrauded his twenty-one clients of almost $575,000 in this way," Miller said.

Miller says this was a three-yearlong investigation.

West Virginia State Police, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner assisted in the case.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A once prominent lawyer in Charleston has been indicted on embezzlement charges.

According to Kanawha County Prosecutor Rob Schulenberg, Richard Michael Martin is facing 21 counts of embezzlement.

Martin worked at Michael Martin and Associates Law in Charleston. His law license was annulled in January 2015.

Schulenberg says there are potentially several hundred victims in this case.

An investigation was done by the West Virginia Insurance Commission and West Virginia State Police.

Martin's trial is scheduled for July.