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Former Bend Attorney Pleads Guilty to $1.1 Million Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 09, 2013

EUGENE, Ore. – Today, Bryan W. Gruetter, 55, of Bend, Oregon, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Michael McShane.  In court, Gruetter admitted to diverting more than $1.1 million of client funds.

According to court documents, Gruetter was a personal injury attorney with offices in Bend and Portland, Oregon.  As part of his guilty plea, Gruetter admitted that he and others illegally diverted more than $1.1 million in client settlement funds via interstate wire transfers.  He further admitted that he and others used his clients’ money to pay for personal and business expenses rather than to pay the clients or to pay the clients’ legal, medical, insurance, or other associated costs as promised.  On February 3, 2012, the Oregon State Bar took custody of defendant’s law practice, and on March 9, 2012, defendant resigned his law license, desiring not to contest allegations that he neglected clients’ legal matters, failed to communicate with clients, and failed to deliver funds to clients.

Sentencing is set for March 17, 2014, at 9 a.m. before Judge McShane.  The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.       

This case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-CI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott E. Bradford.

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