Brown & Charbonneau, LLP Secures Settlement For Victims of Ponzi Scheme And Elder Abuse
San Diego Superior Court (Settlement)
Result: Confidential Settlement Amount
The business litigation and trial specialists at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP represented the niece and Trustee of a family trust with six beneficiaries following the death of their elderly aunt. The aunt was 101 years old at her death. She and her deceased husband worked for decades to build a substantial estate to leave their heirs. Throughout their life, they lived quite frugally. The aunt hired a professional that was both a CPA and an attorney to handle her taxes. The professional also prepared trust documents and amendments. When the aunt was 97 years old, the professional offer to start acting as her financial advisor for a monthly fee of $750 (ultimately raised to $1500). During this period, the CPA/attorney
decided to invest almost 50% of the entire estate in risky real estate mortgages. A simple google search would have revealed the problems with the promoters of these investments. Ultimately, this was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of hundreds of millions of dollars. The CPA/attorney did no due diligence on the investment and invested ½ million dollars with the Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund 3, LLC and Fund 4, LLC. When the pyramid crumbled, the SEC had filed an action, many states had shut them down and bankruptcy followed. When the trust lost these significant assets, suit was filed against the CPA/Attorney for breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence or malpractice, and elder abuse. The parties agreed to attend mediation and the Trust was able to recover a substantial amount in exchange for an agreement that the settlement be completely confidential settlement.