Retired Allstate Agent Caught Forging Documents

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Retired Allstate Agent Caught Forging Documents

Unread postby RatPak11 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:27 pm ... z1PBJN7m6g

Minister pleads guilty in forgery case
By Michael Buettner (Staff Writer)Published: June 7, 2011

PETERSBURG - A minister and funeral home owner has pleaded guilty to charges of helping a retired insurance agent forge documents.

In a plea agreement, the Rev. William N. Bland Jr., 61, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church and owner of William N. Bland & Son Funeral Home, pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges of willful misconduct by a notary public and being an accessory after the fact to forgery. He was sentenced to one year in jail, all of it suspended, on the accessory charge and a $500 fine on the misconduct count.

Bland originally had been charged with accessory before the fact to forgery and accessory before the fact to obtaining money on false pretenses, both felonies, in addition to the misconduct charge. As part of the plea agreement, the accessory to forgery charge was reduced and the false pretenses charge was not prosecuted.

The charges stemmed from a plan by former insurance agent Ralph R. Bolling, 65, to cash in a pension fund balance last year worth nearly $400,000, without the consent of his estranged wife. Bolling on Monday pleaded guilty to two felony charges, entered a so-called Alford plea to a third felony count, and received three 10-year sentences, with all time suspended. Under the plea agreement, two additional felony charges were not prosecuted.

According to a summary of the case presented in Petersburg Circuit Court by Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Cheryl Wilson, Bolling and his wife, Patricia, had separated in September 2006. Last year, Bolling sought to withdraw the money from his pension account with Allstate Insurance. He later told a Petersburg police detective he wanted to move the funds because the investments in the account weren't performing as well as he wanted.

Because funds such as pension benefits are considered marital assets, the spouse's or ex-spouse's consent is required before changes to payout terms can be made. In addition, the Allstate account did not allow the beneficiary to be changed without consent.

Wilson said Bolling asked his estranged wife, Patricia, to sign a consent form and she refused. Ralph Bolling later forged her signature on the form, which Bland then notarized even though he knew the signature on the document was forged.

Patricia Bolling later received a letter from Allstate informing her that the account funds had been paid out in a lump sum of $372,616, of which she may have been entitled to half or more. She subsequently filed for divorce from Ralph Bolling and included details about the pension matter in her divorce suit. Petersburg police interviewed the two men, who admitted to the forgery and cooperated with the investigation.

Before accepting Bland's plea agreement and imposing sentence, Circuit Judge James F. D'Alton Jr. asked Bland if he had anything to add to the case summary.

"No, but I'm sorry about the whole thing," Bland answered.

D'Alton was unable to impose a formal restitution requirement on Ralph Bolling because the pension money currently is an issue in the divorce suit as well as an additional civil suit filed against him and Bland by Patricia Bolling. In the months since the funds were moved, the total value of the account has increased by about $50,000.

Bland, a Petersburg native and graduate of Peabody High School and Virginia State University, heads Bland Enterprises Inc., the company that owns William N. Bland & Son Funeral Home in Petersburg, manages Turner-Bland Funeral Home in Hopewell and is a partner in Peace-Bland Funeral Home in Waverly.

Bland was pastor of First Baptist Church in Waverly from 1984 to 1996 before joining Metropolitan Baptist Church on Halifax Street in Petersburg. He has been widely involved with civic and fraternal groups in Petersburg, and is a former member of the board of directors of Petersburg-Dinwiddie Crime Solvers, adjunct professor in John Tyler Community College's School of Mortuary Science and lecturer for the Crater District Police Academy at Richard Bland College.

- Michael Buettner may be reached at 722-5155 or


Peyton123 6 days ago

These two never should have been allowed to get away without jail time. The Commonwealth Attorney was too eager to accept a plea and should have taken this case to trial; given the size of the fraud, jail time was warranted. This isn't the first Bland family member to be caught taking advantage of others. Remember, Fenton Bland was convicted of a similar charge a few years back and was sentenced to three years in prison. I hope that the congregation of Reverend Bland's church will send him packing; his behavior has been reprehensible.
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ChesterGray 2 days ago in reply to Peyton123

Peyton123,I am truly disturbed that you would take time out to comment with such a judgemental perspective. How ignorant is it to compare the two Bland stories!WOW!!! Ultimately Mr Bollings intentions were fraudulant, and Mr Bland was unaware of this. Why would a pillar of the community risk so much for NOTHING? Mr Bland did not receive any monetary benefit from this incident and thats FACT! He simply TRUSTED a lifelong friend that took advantage of that trust. Therefore, if he is guilty of anything it was poor judge of character. Mr Bland has done so much for the community and YOU feel that his punishment should be at the expense of the tax payers? Is some sort of punishment warranted, ABSOLUTELY; but lets be realistic about this shall we.......suspend indefinately his notary public priveledges,volunteer in the community that trusted him. I can think of countless areas in the City of Petersburg that could use volunteer time. How
about the schools that are failing our children miserably,the elderly and mentally challenged that need time,inspiration,or just someone to advocate for them. Peyton, this city has so many needs that Mr Bland could assist with, and your focus is jail time and imposing a sentence that would make him a debt to society. Its that type of thinking, if thats what you want to call it, that has caused the STATE OF EMERGENCY in a city that has the potential, resources, and ability to be one that we all can be proud of! Peace and Blessings to you and yours! I feel that before one is so quick to judge, look within, and JUDGE NOT!!!

Flag Like ReplyReply Koda in Vegas 5 days ago

400,000 thousand and not even a slap on the wrist. Petersburg lost it many years ago. Recovery for Peterspatch may never happen. Even if we were to come out of this recession Petersburg will still be years behind. You have no real city leaders. Whats not "everyone for themselves" is crack and crime. Factories left years ago. The rail yards are long gone. The tobacco auction is history. The cigarette factories- gone. They saw the demise of Petersburg long before anyone else. You don't even have a decent hotel. The big news is crime and a so called biker gang. The people there won't even rescue any of the historic buildings. All of the famous families are gone or robbed everything. They broke laws and were retired to obscurity. Bollings, Roundtrees, even that no good worthless rat Connie Hack.
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DamienT 5 days ago
Everyone makes hope is a lesson has been learned from this mistake..and a lesson learned is always a valuable tool to be used again and again....I hope Rev Bland realizes and learns from this lesson..."don't mix business with friendship"...they are not the same thing.

Flag 3 people liked this. Like ReplyReply Peyton123 5 days ago in reply to DamienT

We all make mistakes. I've made mistakes, but I haven't helped any of my friends steal nearly $400,000 from his wife. The reverend is an adult, a businessman, and an example to the community; he knew better. He may learn from his mistake, but if he had to spend a couple of years in prison it would probably help him learn even better.
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ministerjim 5 days ago

Rev. Bland had no idea that the form was forged. Before you say something, please know your facts.. As far as I am concerned, any of you that may have something bad to say about Rev. Bland can go to HELL!!!!!! He has helped more people in this community than any of you have. In knowing Rev. Bland personally, I know for a fact that if Mr. Bolling told Rev. Bland that he had signed his wife's name, he woudn't have notarized the paper. I can say this because I have tried the same thing at Blands Funeral Home that Mr. Bolling did! He simply turned me down; and I have known him just as long as Mr. Bolling has. Mr. Buettner you tried, but you cannot ruin God Fearing, genuine human being.
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My2Centstoo1 5 days ago in reply to ministerjim

Who's mistaken? You or the news reporter?

"Ralph Bolling later forged her signature on the form, which Bland then notarized even though he knew the signature on the document was forged."No one is perfect or not free from temptation. I bet Mr. Bland was rewarded kindly, for his misdeed.
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Jeffrey Allen Nickerson 3 days ago in reply to ministerjim

You do have an idea how a Notary Public works dont you? any party that is signing any document has to be present at the signing with proper identification before the Notary places his seal and verifies the signature is true and signed in his present. Mr Bland was aware of this I am sure of that. As far as what he has done fo the community that I cannot comment but the commnity has also enhanced his wealth too by patronizing his business' when there are many other choices. I try to help my comminity as much as possible ,so dont make it like Bland is some saint because he is not, god-fearing or otherwise the reporter is not trying to ruin him he done that all by himself. You sir should know the facts before you take a side and speak about an issue................
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