Shirley was married to her husband for 60 years before he passed away. They owned their own business and had been pretty successful. Because her husband handled all of the finances in their family, when her husband died, Shirley relied on her adult-son, Jay, to keep track of her finances. That was a big mistake.
More than a decade later, Shirley passed away. During the probate of her estate, Shirley’s daughter, Connie, became suspicious of Jay because he refused to allow them to sell what Jay claimed was Shirley’s sole asset, her home. Connie hired our firm to move things forward. However, during his investigation, we discovered that Jay appeared to have been embezzling from his mother. Using written discovery and then taking Jay’s deposition (and also his accountant’s deposition), we established that Jay had stolen over $600,000 from his mother. In fact, during her last years, Shirley was living meagerly on only her social security checks — not knowing that she had hundreds of thousands more. Jay hid this money from her and then embezzled it.
The old saying, “Oh what a tangled web we weave . . . ” was never so apropos. When questioned, Jay first said that he never took any of his mother’s money. Then, he said she loaned him $600,000. Then, Jay said he paid back his mother. However, we scoured Shirley’s bank records and Jay’s bank records and proved that Jay never paid any money to his mother. This led Jay to say that, “well, I paid back my mom by investing the money — $600,000 — for her.” But, our investigation proved that Jay invested the money took from his mother into his own investment accounts, not accounts for Shirley. Jay just could not contrive lies that could explain his previous lies.
On the eve of a court hearing to award our client damages caused by Jay’s embezzlement from his mother, we settled the case for a payment of all of the money Jay stole, punitive-type damages of $600,000, plus attorneys’ fees incurred by our client prosecuting the case — for a total payment from Jay of $1.65 million.