Articles Posted in Misappropriation

Veteran financial fraud investigators had never seen anything like it before: A bankruptcy scam in which an Indiana woman stole her husband’s identity—while they were still married—and began to loot his 401(k) retirement fund and other assets.

“This was certainly a unique case,” said Special Agent Doug Kasper, who supervised the investigation from the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. Even after 58-year-old Patricia Bippus-Allen was sentenced to five years in federal prison in July after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud, subornation of perjury, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, investigators remain uncertain about her motive or what she did with the money.

What is certain, however, is that Bippus-Allen devised an elaborate bankruptcy fraud to gain access to her husband’s wages, and she made multiple unauthorized withdrawals from his 401(k) retirement account—all with the help of her brother, who impersonated her husband.

Today, I read a report concerning two elderly Connecticut sisters squabbling over lottery winnings won by one of the sisters, Rose Bakaysa, and another brother. Turns out that Bakaysa and her brother won a $500,000 lottery jackpot back in 2005. Younger sister, Theresa Sokaitis, claims that Bakaysa violated a notarized contract they signed almost a decade earlier to split all future winnings. However, Bakaysa claims the two broke off the deal during a 2004 fight over a few hundred dollars. Sokaitis acknowledged the rift but believed that contract was still in place. You can read more about the story here. A New Britain Superior Court Judge is expected to issue her ruling in the next few months.

From an Orange County divorce attorney perspective, this report got me thinking about the effect of one spouse concealing lottery winnings from the other spouse during a divorce proceeding. Back in 2001, a Los Angeles County trial court ruled in a dissolution proceeding that lottery winnings concealed by wife during the proceedings to her ex-husband, constituted fraud. Marriage of Rossi, 90 Cal.App. 4th (2001).

The Court of Appeal affirmed said ruling. The court found that the funds used to purchase the lotto ticket were from a community property source and that wife’s claim that same was a gift was not credible. The trial court found that wife intentionally failed to disclose her lottery winnings in the marital settlement agreement, the judgement and in her declaration of disclosure. She also intentionally consulted with a lottery commission as to how she could deprive her hsuband of a share of the prize, used her mother’s address for all communications with the lottery officials and did not disclose samd throughout the divorce.
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It has come to no surprise to learn that former Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, and his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, have legally separated. While reports do not state when the couple separated, sources claim the couple separated a while ago. Should these two proceed to dissolving their marriage, one issue to be discussed most certainly will be the campaign funds John Edwards used on his mistress, Rielle Hunter.

A federal probe has been launched to look into how John Edwards spent his campaign funds on his alleged “employee”, Rielle Hunter. Hunter, the admitted mistress of John Edwards, was paid more than $100,000 by Edwards’ public action committee for video filmed during the months leading up to his 2008 presidential campaign. Hunter’s firm was also paid an additional $14,086.50 on April 1, 2007 for “furniture” when the PAC only had $7,932.95 in cash on hand. Another suspicious act was from Edwards’ late national finance chairman, Fred Baron, who reportedly paid Hunter to resettle in California. The investigation will make sure Edwards’ campaign funds were not given to the mistress as hush money.
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