An ongoing investigation by the FBI into the disappearance of more than $17 million from dozens of trust funds of Northern California citizens highlights the seriousness of financial fraud that can occur at the hands of so-called professional money managers.
Probate court records from Santa Clara County reveal that the investigation has centered around the office of one particular administrator, Christine Backhouse. She is in charge of more than $104 million in assets. She claims that despite the fact that she is responsible for the funds, it was her boyfriend and business partner, Leo Kennedy that wired the millions of dollars out of 35 different trust accounts. He also worked as the controller for her office. She also claims that once she found out about the missing funds she terminated both her personal and professional relationship with Kennedy and reported him to the proper authorities.
With most of Backhouse's cases being private without any sort of judicial oversight over fees or accounting, this brings to light how easy it is for clients to be exposed to the risk of theft and the mishandling of their accounts. That is why it is essential for clients to be on top of what is happening with their trusts. Unfortunately, sometimes these trusts are held for people who may not have the capacity to do so.
The investigation in ongoing and no arrests have been made at this time.
For more information on setting up trusts and how those trust are managed, please contact a professional estate litigation Attorney.
*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.