, Salem, MA

July 2, 2013

Former attorney faces federal fraud charges


---- — MARBLEHEAD — A once-prominent defense attorney from Marblehead, disbarred eight years ago, was arrested yesterday on federal tax and bank fraud charges.

John C. McBride, 65, is charged in an indictment with bank fraud and endeavoring to obstruct and impede the administration of tax law.

After an initial appearance in U.S. District Court, McBride was released on an unsecured bond, according to the case docket. He’s due back in court Sept. 3.

Federal prosecutors allege that McBride, whose homes in Marblehead and Edgartown were the subject of tax liens totaling more than $700,000, filed forged certificates of release of those liens in the South Essex Registry of Deeds and tried to do the same at the Dukes County Registry of Deeds, according to the nine-page indictment, unsealed yesterday.

The Internal Revenue Service had not released any of those liens, prosecutors noted.

McBride was in the process of trying to obtain a mortgage on the Marblehead home on Rolleston Road when he made the fraudulent filings, prosecutors allege. In fact, he did obtain a $288,000 mortgage in January 2008, after the phony releases were filed in Essex County, according to the indictment.

In addition, McBride is charged with bank fraud as a result of a $712,800 mortgage he obtained on his Edgartown home in 2007.

Two years later, he filed for bankruptcy. During those proceedings, according to the indictment, McBridge filed a fraudulent document purporting to be a formal “discharge” of the 2007 mortgage.

Then, he sought a “reverse mortgage” for $387,000, based on the value of the Edgartown house. He did not disclose any of the liens that had been pending on the property, nor did he mention that he was still in bankruptcy proceedings, according to prosecutors.

The alleged fraud was discovered by Bank of America before any money was paid to McBride for the reverse mortgage.

McBride was disbarred in 2005 as a result of his handling of three separate cases, including one in which he was accused of charging an excessive fee to handle a forfeiture case; another in which he mislead a group of clients about the status of settlement funds, which he had taken for his own use; and a third in which he accepted a fee from a client but then failed to work on his case, leaving the man to serve additional jail time that was later determined to be in error.

The indictments come a little more than a month after McBride admitted to sufficient facts on charges of credit card and identity fraud and that he was illegally practicing law on Martha’s Vineyard after being disbarred, and days before the Supreme Judicial Court is scheduled to hear a formal request by the state Office of Bar Counsel to bar McBride from seeking reinstatement for another eight years.

McBride was temporarily appointed a federal public defender for his court appearance yesterday.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.