Authorities allege ex-Ligonier lawyer stole $120K from fund meant for crash victim's son
When a Greensburg teenager's mother died in a vehicle accident in January 2012, she left a $300,000 insurance policy for her son.
Two local attorneys were appointed by the court afterward — one to act as a guardian and the other as a trustee for the funds from the policy.
When the son, who is now 18, made several unsuccessful attempts to reach J. Russell McGregor, 52, in February to obtain money from the trust account, he reported the situation to Westmoreland County Detective Thomas Horan.
That led authorities to discover that McGregor, a former Ligonier attorney, allegedly took nearly $120,000 from the account, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
“It appears that most of it was personal use,” Horan said.
McGregor was arraigned before District Judge James Albert on Wednesday and is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on $75,000 bail. He faces nine counts each of receiving stolen property and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.
Court records show McGregor is being represented by Attorney Rochelle Bosack. She did not return a phone call seeking comment on Thursday.
McGregor is listed as retired by The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The online record does not indicate when he retired.
After the alleged victim's failed attempts to reach McGregor, he and a friend went to McGregor's law office in early 2013 to retrieve a box of records associated with the trust account, according to the affidavit.
In the box, Horan said he found evidence of seven unauthorized checks totaling $52,000, one $6,000 withdrawal and one $5,000 wire transfer between April 2012 and January 2013. The checks were written to McGregor Law, Ligonier Property Investments, Lonesome Star Farms and Churchill Valley Partners, which is a company McGregor owns, according to the affidavit.
Investigators determined that 19 checks and one electronic transfer totaling $56,000 allegedly were signed by McGregor and deposited into a separate bank account between March 2012 and January 2013.
According to the affidavit, some of the checks were written to McGregor Law while others were made out to cash.
A preliminary hearing before District Judge Denise Thiel is scheduled for next week.
In a separate matter, a federal court judge in December dismissed a lawsuit McGregor filed, claiming his estranged wife married him as a ruse to abscond with part of his family's wealth. The judge ruled that McGregor didn't specify any federal law that allegedly had been violated.
The two are seeking a divorce.
McGregor is the son of the late Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge James R. McGregor Sr., who served 30 years on the bench.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Housing market remains ‘disaster’ in Westmoreland County
- Northampton man has four major drug arrests in Western Pa. since 2009
- Westmoreland judges’ caseloads unlikely to affect district boundary changes
- ‘Extreme extrovert’ takes over at WCCC
- New Ohiopyle park manager ready for big challenge that comes with job
- Mt. Pleasant seeks on-street bike trail through downtown
- St. Michael’s volunteers cook up festival delights
- Franklin Regional security guard fighting to get job back
- Dog-training program gives prison inmates chance to give back
- Jeannette traffic stop leads to drug charges
- Chemical mix sickens two from South Greensburg