California Bar Journal
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Money laundering conviction leads to lawyer's resignation
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A Los Angeles attorney convicted earlier this year of laundering money that was part of the haul from an armored car company heist has resigned from the State Bar with charges pending. DAVID MATSUMOTO [#77325], 51, was placed on interim suspension July 20 and gave up his license Sept. 6, 2001. He was sentenced in October to 27 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to six counts of money laundering and one count of aiding and abetting the filing of a false tax return.

Matsumoto, who lived in Las Vegas but practiced in Los Angeles, and his ex-law office manager, Joaquin Bin, were indicted in September 2000 on 71 counts of money laundering, structuring financial transactions and subscribing to a false income tax return.

Bin, a Santa Ynez Arabian horse-farm owner, pleaded guilty in April to seven counts of money laundering and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

Matsumoto admitted he took $1 million from two of the robbers who stole $18.9 million from the downtown Los Angeles office of Dunbar Armored in 1997. Federal authorities said it was the largest cash robbery of an armored car company in U.S. history, and agents still don't know what happened to most of the money.

Bin also received $1 million from the robbers.

He and Matsumoto deposited their take in Matsumoto's client trust account. Some was used to buy a house in Las Vegas, Matsumoto wrote checks to the robbers to give the impression they were earning wages, and the rest of the money was invested, according to a federal prosecutor.

Most of the money was invested in Combustion Processing Manufacturing Corp., a Houston company that is trying to develop a machine to clean contaminated soil after oil spills.

Matsumoto also issued a W-2 tax form to one of the robbers, implying that he earned more than $40,000 for legitimate work.

The case was broken when the FBI traced a broken tail light found at the robbery scene to a truck rented by Eugene Lamar Hill Jr. of Bellflower, one of the two who provided the money to Matsumoto and Bin.

After his arrest, Hill pleaded guilty and fingered his accomplices. All have been convicted, sentenced to federal prison for terms ranging from eight to 17 years, and ordered to pay $18.9 million in restitution.

Former Dunbar security guard Allen Pace III, who had been fired the night before the robbery, was convicted in June of masterminding the robbery.

He was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison.

Matsumoto, who was a sole practitioner, also faces charges stemming from a drunken driving arrest earlier this year.