When a person ages, frequently he or she will assign a power of attorney to a trusted relative to direct the administration of his or her affairs. In a case about to go before the Texas courts, a man passed away and then was quickly followed by the son to whom he gave power of attorney, leaving an unusual discontinuity in his financial situation. An acquaintance of the younger man has now been indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged involvement with the estate following the two deaths, including charges of wire fraud.
The elder gentleman, a retired employee of Lockheed Martin, passed away Oct. 11, 2011. His son, who previously held power of attorney for his father, died just 12 days later. The accused, a 43-year-old Huntsville man, is alleged to have filed a fraudulent power of attorney in probate court, and then appointed himself as the deceased son’s agent.
It is further alleged that commercial bank accounts were opened and then money was transferred fraudulently from retirement plans to the accounts. A complex series of transactions is alleged to have followed from Dec. 2011 through Feb. 2012 in which several hundred thousand dollars are claimed to have been moved to accounts held by the accused. In total, the accused now faces 10 charges, including four for wire fraud, four for money laundering and one each for mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. The fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Money laundering can bring about a 30-year sentence plus a $1 million fine, and the identity theft charge carries a two-year prison sentence.
The accused individual faces some extremely harsh penalties if convicted. Given the investigation was conducted by the FBI, it can be assured that a tough road lies ahead for this man. Wire fraud and other white collar crimes are very serious situations and must be handled correctly. A lawyer who is very experienced with criminal law in Texas might be an excellent ally in high-stakes cases like these.
Source: shoalsinsider.com, “Texas Man Faces Multiple Charges for Stealing from Dead Man’s Retirement Fund“, Dec. 1, 2016