A disbarred lawyer from Irvine filed for personal bankruptcy in nearby Santa Ana on May 29, several months after avoiding prison time for his role in an investment fraud.
Bruce Haglund, 66, saw his sentencing in a $5 million fraud scheme delayed in February after a federal judge determined that he should be allowed to spend more time with his ailing wife, who is battling Alzheimer’s disease. Haglund himself is facing up to 27 months behind bars for his role acting as an escrow “paymaster” in deals involving IDLYC Holdings Trust and Matrix Holdings LLC, both of which promised big returns on low-risk investments.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced in October 2017 that Francis Wilde III and Mark Gelazela had been sentenced to 51 months and 41 months in prison, respectively, for their roles running high-yield banking fraud schemes at Matrix and IDLYC. Gelazela was found guilty following a five-day jury trial in late 2016, while Wilde pleaded guilty in May of that same year.
Haglund, who pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, was initially hit with a civil complaint by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 24, 2011. The regulator accused Haglund of reaping $472,500 in fees, including $35,000 for arranging seven wire transfers, from a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Wilde and his fellow co-conspirators.
In an 11-page Chapter 7 filing, Haglund and his lawyer, Joseph Weber of Costa Mesa-based Weber Firman, listed liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million against assets of $1 to $10 million. Neither Haglund, who court records show owns a $1.5 million home in Irvine, nor Weber immediately returned a request for comment about the bankruptcy case.
Court filings reveal that Weber has received $2,500 for his role advising Haglund in Chapter 7 proceedings. Dyke Huish, a criminal defense lawyer with his own practice in Mission Viejo has been representing Haglund in his criminal case. Public records show that Haglund once served as a name partner at Irvine-based Gibson, Haglund & Paulsen and Phillips, Haglund, Haddan & Jeffers, the latter of which once had an office in nearby Newport Beach.
Haglund was officially disbarred in California on July 23, 2017, according to records on file with The State Bar of California, and was further barred from appearing from federal courts in the Central District of California on Feb. 1, as noted in an order of disbarment and suspension on that date by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in Los Angeles. Haglund and his former business partners have been ordered to disgorge $6.7 million in illicit profits.