A Richmond Circuit Court grand jury indicted missing stockbroker Clyde B. Pitchford Jr. today on charges that he had embezzled $160,000 from four of his clients at E.F. Hutton & Co.
Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Aubrey M. Davis Jr. said the investigation of Pitchford's financial dealings was continuing and that more indictments are possible.
Davis said that if convicted, Pitchford could get up to 20 years in prison on each count. "But first we have to find him," the prosecutor said.
The flamboyant Pitchford, 31, was last seen Feb. 12 at the Sherry Netherland Hotel in New York City.
One news report said the amount of claims by Pitchford's clients at Hutton's office here could reach $750,000 to $1 million. In addition, four Richmond banks are suing Pitchford and a corporation he helped run to recover nearly $1 million in loans.
Robert Dean, acting agent in charge of the FBI office here, said Pitchford also is being sought on a federal warrant charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
FBI agents reportedly looked unsuccessfully for Pitchford in Florida over the weekend after learning that he owns a condominium in North Palm Beach, plus investment properties in Ocala and Orlando.
Dean said he would neither confirm nor deny a published report that two of Pitchford's partners in Rex Group Inc., including state Sen. A. Joe Canada Jr. (R-Virginia Beach), filed complaints that Pitchford forged their names to documents guaranteeing debts incurred by the corporation. Rex Group Inc. has invested in real estate in Virginia and Florida.
Steve Nelson, a Hutton spokesman in New York, said Hutton is "cooperating with all law enforcement authorities. We are determined to do the right thing" for any clients who lost money through Pitchford.
Nelson said Hutton "brought this matter to the attention of authorities." Hutton contacted the Virginia Corporation Commission after some clients, reading of Pitchford's disappearance, said balances in their accounts did not match what they had invested.
The indictments name four Richmonders -- Mynders Glover, Gloria Prevatt, Margaret M. Franklin and Mary H. Hazen -- as victims of Pitchford.
Assistant prosecutor David C. Eberhart III told The Richmond News-Leader that Hazen is accusing Pitchford of taking a $25,000 check in December, promising that it would be invested by Hutton. It was not. Pitchford reportedly sent his chauffeur -- the driver of a Rolls-Royce subsequently repossessed -- to pick up the check.
Also last December, Pitchford is accused of taking $30,000 from Franklin's account and a $20,000 check from her on a promise to buy $50,000 in New York bonds. Records indicate none of the money was invested in Franklin's account, according to Eberhart.
A year earlier, the report said, Pitchford allegedly forged Prevatt's name on a check for a withdrawal she had asked him to make on her Hutton account. Similarly, in November 1983, he allegedly cashed a $50,000 check from Glover's account by forging her name on a check.
Eberhart said the investigation also is checking the amounts clients said they had in their accounts when they followed Pitchford as he switched jobs in June 1983, moving from Dean Witter Reynolds to Hutton.