Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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cheese_breath
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:21 pm

Good Listener wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:You need to go to the police station.

I disagree with this and the others saying similar things. Yes the man has done illegal things. However I think that him going to jail does not help pay off anything and he is the father of 4 children who are also the children of the sister,.

Bernie Madoff should have used this defense.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Swimmer » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:26 pm

cheese_breath wrote:if your mother is rational it seems the first thing to do is have her revoke the BIL's POA.


I agree but I don't think this question has been answered. We are told she's had serious problems but what is her cognitive state?

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Swimmer » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:28 pm

Good Listener wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:You need to go to the police station.

I disagree with this and the others saying similar things. Yes the man has done illegal things. However I think that him going to jail does not help pay off anything and he is the father of 4 children who are also the children of the sister,.



Unfortunately, there may be no other way to stop this. Very sad.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by S&L1940 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:35 pm

did not read all the responses; does your state have specific elder laws to protect their interests?
guessing the attorney general's office should be contacted to add another layer of legal support
good luck
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Pajamas » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:38 pm

Good Listener wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:You need to go to the police station.

I disagree with this and the others saying similar things. Yes the man has done illegal things. However I think that him going to jail does not help pay off anything and he is the father of 4 children who are also the children of the sister,.


Law enforcement involvement does not necessarily mean prison for these particular crimes, depending on the state. This man is a financial predator, identity thief, forger, embezzler, elder abuser, and tax evader who has stolen large sums of money and is probably still stealing money. He is a felon and the judicial system should be involved. Would you not report someone who stole your bicycle to the police? What he has done is many times worse both in kind and degree. At the very minimum, he needs to be placed on probation and monitored to prevent future crimes. He is a financial advisor, for heaven's sake. Should he simply be allowed to continue his criminal behavior? Without consequences?

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Wakefield1 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:07 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Good Listener wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:You need to go to the police station.

I disagree with this and the others saying similar things. Yes the man has done illegal things. However I think that him going to jail does not help pay off anything and he is the father of 4 children who are also the children of the sister,.


Law enforcement involvement does not necessarily mean prison for these particular crimes, depending on the state. This man is a financial predator, identity thief, forger, embezzler, elder abuser, and tax evader who has stolen large sums of money and is probably still stealing money. He is a felon and the judicial system should be involved. Would you not report someone who stole your bicycle to the police? What he has done is many times worse both in kind and degree. At the very minimum, he needs to be placed on probation and monitored to prevent future crimes. He is a financial advisor, for heaven's sake. Should he simply be allowed to continue his criminal behavior? Without consequences?

Yes,if the man is not apprehended he may continue to defraud,and there is the possibility that he will abscond (disappear) with the family's and his clients' assets never to be seen again.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Pajamas » Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:14 pm

Wakefield1 wrote:Yes,if the man is not apprehended he may continue to defraud,and there is the possibility that he will abscond (disappear) with the family's and his clients' assets never to be seen again.


Yes, I said in my first post in this thread that he is at a high risk of flight or even suicide. It is a bad situation both financially and for the people involved all around. I feel almost as sorry for him as for his victims.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by 4th and Inches » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:30 pm

Pajamas wrote:
I feel almost as sorry for him as for his victims.


Uhhhh ok. I'm going to guess that you are very much in the minority regarding this kind sentiment towards the perpetrator. Let him rot.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:34 pm

4th and Inches wrote:
Pajamas wrote:
I feel almost as sorry for him as for his victims.


Uhhhh ok. I'm going to guess that you are very much in the minority regarding this kind sentiment towards the perpetrator. Let him rot.

+1 to that.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by denovo » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:42 pm

BlackStrat wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote:Where did the money go? Did he buy himself Lamborghini that could be sold off to settle the debt? Did he take trips to Las Vegas and simply throw it all away? Are there accounts in his name somewhere that this money now sits in?


This is was what I was wondering as well. How could he spend this kind of money without drawing attention for both his wife and family to notice (unless they were already used to an extravagant lifestyle). Of course, this is an easy question to ask in hindsight.

I'm really sorry for what you're going through...time to lawyer up big time and show no mercy for this heartless felon.


I am also confused about where all the money went. Wouldn't the family notice a Lamborghini or drug addiction? Unexplained solo vacations? The mind can run wild run with the possibilities from the mundane (trying to maintain lifestyle after business downturn) to the lurid (drug addiction, second family, offshore accounts, bribery, blackmail).

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by pasadena » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:50 pm

Good Listener wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:You need to go to the police station.

I disagree with this and the others saying similar things. Yes the man has done illegal things. However I think that him going to jail does not help pay off anything and he is the father of 4 children who are also the children of the sister.


... whose life he just destroyed, and whom he obviously doesn't give a fig about.

Being a father doesn't mean you shouldn't pay for your crimes.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Whakamole » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:52 pm

denovo wrote:
BlackStrat wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote:Where did the money go? Did he buy himself Lamborghini that could be sold off to settle the debt? Did he take trips to Las Vegas and simply throw it all away? Are there accounts in his name somewhere that this money now sits in?


This is was what I was wondering as well. How could he spend this kind of money without drawing attention for both his wife and family to notice (unless they were already used to an extravagant lifestyle). Of course, this is an easy question to ask in hindsight.

I'm really sorry for what you're going through...time to lawyer up big time and show no mercy for this heartless felon.


I am also confused about where all the money went. Wouldn't the family notice a Lamborghini or drug addiction? Unexplained solo vacations? The mind can run wild run with the possibilities from the mundane (trying to maintain lifestyle after business downturn) to the lurid (drug addiction, second family, offshore accounts, bribery, blackmail).


Since he was an "investment manager", he could very well have been suffering heavy losses in his portfolio and has been trying to gather all the money he can just to keep the credits at bay. Though usually the Ponzi schemers try to make sure their own nest is feathered, which is why a lawyer (or private investigator or both) may be able to figure out where the money went, in case he's stashed it in some country without an extradition treaty.

pasadena wrote:Being a father doesn't mean you shouldn't pay for your crimes.

It also sets a good example for the kids. If they see their father getting off for being a thief, they will think they can commit the same crime and some family member will bail them out.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by munemaker » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:39 am

Pajamas wrote:It's a terrible situation and it is probably even worse than you realize at this point.



If he stole from his family, he almost certainly would have stolen from other clients.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:37 am

cheese_breath wrote:
Good Listener wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:You need to go to the police station.

I disagree with this and the others saying similar things. Yes the man has done illegal things. However I think that him going to jail does not help pay off anything and he is the father of 4 children who are also the children of the sister,.

Bernie Madoff should have used this defense.


The question is not what the criminal justice system will do, it's what the family will do. Going to the police could be viewed as an act of civic duty, or as an act of revenge. Either way will affect their and their children's relationships. If other people are defrauded the authorities will inevitable be involved. I'm not advocating hindering prosecution, but theres a difference between leading the charge and being (or appearing to be) a reluctant witness, and it's still her choice,

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by SimonJester » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:48 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:
Good Listener wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:You need to go to the police station.

I disagree with this and the others saying similar things. Yes the man has done illegal things. However I think that him going to jail does not help pay off anything and he is the father of 4 children who are also the children of the sister,.

Bernie Madoff should have used this defense.


The question is not what the criminal justice system will do, it's what the family will do. Going to the police could be viewed as an act of civic duty, or as an act of revenge. Either way will affect their and their children's relationships. If other people are defrauded the authorities will inevitable be involved. I'm not advocating hindering prosecution, but theres a difference between leading the charge and being (or appearing to be) a reluctant witness, and it's still her choice,


The police report may very well be necessary to get the credit card companies to mark the accounts as fraudulent and thus no longer the responsibility of the mother to pay. They will send her an affidavit in which she will have to fill out the details of the fraudulent activity on the accounts and stating if she knows who opened them.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Heisenburg » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:32 am

Pajamas wrote:
Wakefield1 wrote:Yes,if the man is not apprehended he may continue to defraud,and there is the possibility that he will abscond (disappear) with the family's and his clients' assets never to be seen again.


Yes, I said in my first post in this thread that he is at a high risk of flight or even suicide. It is a bad situation both financially and for the people involved all around. I feel almost as sorry for him as for his victims.



+1 to this. I had a friend in high school whose step-father pulled the same type of scam. When the house of cards came crashing down, he killed my friend's mother, their son, the family dog, set the house on fire, and then killed himself. Cornered animals often lash out. OP's brother in law belongs in jail.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:01 pm

denovo wrote:
BlackStrat wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote:Where did the money go? Did he buy himself Lamborghini that could be sold off to settle the debt? Did he take trips to Las Vegas and simply throw it all away? Are there accounts in his name somewhere that this money now sits in?


This is was what I was wondering as well. How could he spend this kind of money without drawing attention for both his wife and family to notice (unless they were already used to an extravagant lifestyle). Of course, this is an easy question to ask in hindsight.

I'm really sorry for what you're going through...time to lawyer up big time and show no mercy for this heartless felon.


I am also confused about where all the money went. Wouldn't the family notice a Lamborghini or drug addiction? Unexplained solo vacations? The mind can run wild run with the possibilities from the mundane (trying to maintain lifestyle after business downturn) to the lurid (drug addiction, second family, offshore accounts, bribery, blackmail).


You would be surprised. My husband's uncle had four children and a wife and was very active in the community. No one had a clue about his gambling problem.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by edge » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:17 pm

1). Get a lawyer
2). Revoke POA
3). Contact card companies and make them aware of the fraud
4). Contact police and have him arrested


Your BIL is going to jail.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by cheese_breath » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:14 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:
Good Listener wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:You need to go to the police station.

I disagree with this and the others saying similar things. Yes the man has done illegal things. However I think that him going to jail does not help pay off anything and he is the father of 4 children who are also the children of the sister,.

Bernie Madoff should have used this defense.


The question is not what the criminal justice system will do, it's what the family will do. Going to the police could be viewed as an act of civic duty, or as an act of revenge. Either way will affect their and their children's relationships. If other people are defrauded the authorities will inevitable be involved. I'm not advocating hindering prosecution, but theres a difference between leading the charge and being (or appearing to be) a reluctant witness, and it's still her choice,

Affect the children's relationships? They're probably already so traumatized by this that they'd be the first ones in line to convict old Dad.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by dm200 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:58 pm

Today, I discovered that he had opened up 2 credit cards in my mother's name and maxed both of them out to over $45K and her credit score is 522. He had not paid one credit card in over a year.


In addition to IMMEDIATELY revoking the PoA, I would (to whatever degree possible) contest hsi being able to use the PoA to open these accounts and max them out (for his own financial benefit).

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by celia » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:11 am

Your sister should also check credit reports for each child. I wouldn't be surprised if they had "debts" and credit card accounts.

Sorry about what has and is happening.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Caduceus » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:09 am

I don't think the Bogleheads can help you here. You need the help of a competent lawyer. The laws and regulations governing your Mom's situation here are probably also state-specific.

At this stage, you should probably also be gathering as much information (dates, assets, documents) as you can. At some point the process will become even more adversarial than it already is. Before this happens, see if you can talk to your brother-in-law and get more information (how many credit accounts? What are the account numbers? Will he turn over the cards right now? Has he used your Mother's name in any other financial transactions?). Once you and your Mom lawyer up and everything becomes formal, discovery may become more difficult. Right now, with you and your sis still speaking (though angrily!) to your BIL, you can have access to information that you can then use against him in subsequent legal proceedings.

I would not assume that your Mom is on the hook for the debt. I am not a lawyer, but most likely those vested with power of attorney must act in the interests of their principal rather than abusing those powers. This sounds like outright fraud to me.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by TIAX » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:47 pm

JGoneRiding wrote: Declare bankruptcy for your mother on the credit card debt.

Why would the mother need to declare bankruptcy if this is not valid debt?

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by JGoneRiding » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:54 pm

TIAX wrote:
JGoneRiding wrote: Declare bankruptcy for your mother on the credit card debt.

Why would the mother need to declare bankruptcy if this is not valid debt?

The BIL had a legit POA. Maybe the CC writes it off and files fraud against him, but most likely they don't and go after mom. For sure they are going to have to file a police report for fraud in order to get the CC to consider pursuing charges against him instead of going after mom.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by TIAX » Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:06 pm

JGoneRiding wrote:
TIAX wrote:
JGoneRiding wrote: Declare bankruptcy for your mother on the credit card debt.

Why would the mother need to declare bankruptcy if this is not valid debt?

The BIL had a legit POA. Maybe the CC writes it off and files fraud against him, but most likely they don't and go after mom. For sure they are going to have to file a police report for fraud in order to get the CC to consider pursuing charges against him instead of going after mom.

Even if the POA lets him apply for the card, does it let him use it for his own purposes?

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by beardsworth » Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:46 pm

A lot of people are taking the time to post thoughts and recommendations in this thread, and expressing a lot of verbal and psychological energy in doing so, but I just realized that the OP has not reappeared since the thread first began (four days ago as of this writing).

Since the OP has not acknowledged, or replied to, anything that anyone has said here so far, I wonder if the OP is even following the thread. I hope so, and also hope that the OP will eventually give one or more updates about the subsequent course of events.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by inbox788 » Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:04 pm

Wow! That really gives financial advisors a bad name, not that they're not already avoided here. My sympathies to the family and hope the can salvage something out of this. Seek help! Keep matters separate and solve one problem at a time.

OP, stay strong. Don't rush in to help without understanding the whole situation, and I fear there is still more to be uncovered.

Epsilon Delta wrote:The question is not what the criminal justice system will do, it's what the family will do. Going to the police could be viewed as an act of civic duty, or as an act of revenge. Either way will affect their and their children's relationships. If other people are defrauded the authorities will inevitable be involved. I'm not advocating hindering prosecution, but theres a difference between leading the charge and being (or appearing to be) a reluctant witness, and it's still her choice,

Being so close, it's not clear that the relatives are going to be considered victims immediately, or will need to be vetted for consideration as accomplices. Tread cautiously.

Caduceus wrote:I would not assume that your Mom is on the hook for the debt. I am not a lawyer, but most likely those vested with power of attorney must act in the interests of their principal rather than abusing those powers. This sounds like outright fraud to me.

INAL, and I don't know anything, but even if it's outright fraud, with the POA, it's not clear to me who's being defrauded and who's liable.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by ParkersPaPa » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:00 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
4th and Inches wrote:
Pajamas wrote:
I feel almost as sorry for him as for his victims.


Uhhhh ok. I'm going to guess that you are very much in the minority regarding this kind sentiment towards the perpetrator. Let him rot.

+1 to that.


Amen

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by denovo » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:07 pm

beardsworth wrote:A lot of people are taking the time to post thoughts and recommendations in this thread, and expressing a lot of verbal and psychological energy in doing so, but I just realized that the OP has not reappeared since the thread first began (four days ago as of this writing).

Since the OP has not acknowledged, or replied to, anything that anyone has said here so far, I wonder if the OP is even following the thread. I hope so, and also hope that the OP will eventually give one or more updates about the subsequent course of events.


+1

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by phatkev » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:38 pm

Thank you everyone for the feedback, thoughts, and pieces of advice. I've been reading through the responses trying to take them in and deal with the holidays as well, which is why it took a while to respond.

I appreciate the general sentiment of sympathy to my mother and sister. I want to fill in a little more details on the situation and respond to a few quotes. I cut and pasted them onto a document so I won't be able to credit each person directly.

There have been a lot of questions posed about "where did the money go?" This is my sister's question and to some extent my question, too. My sister sent me her tax returns for the past 5 years that included her jointly filed returns in addition to her business returns. I don't really understand where to look on the tax returns to figure out exactly how much income they took home, after business expenses, etc. However, from what I gathered, combined they made between 200K to 600K per year, depending on how her business did. They have always appeared to live a relatively lavish lifestyle taking multiple vacations a year (between 5-15), often taking their 4 children with them. They have an au pair, drive nice cars (that they own outright), wear nice clothes, buy the nicest electronics, clothes and things for their kids and themselves. Their oldest son goes to a private high school for the past 2 years costing at least 40K a year, I think. Everyone for years has always said, "I don't know how they afford to do the things they do."

When my sister asked him where the money went, he claimed that the expenses just got out of hand, starting a few years ago when they had some expenses - a bar mitzvah in St Thomas and another one back home, which was incredible (both of these bar mitzvahs were for the same kid). He also said that the private school tuition has set them back as well. My sister's business took a loss this year, and he said that he just kept getting behind. My sister had no knowledge of this, despite her asking for years about the finances. My BIL is a very arrogant, controlling person, who hid this from my sister. She definitely takes some of the blame for her ignorance of the situation, but she was trying to get the information for years, but didn't press very hard because things had been ok for 18 years of marriage, and she was married to a financial investor who handled finances for a living. He was successful at his company, getting bonuses and rewards for his performance and continued to get promoted. Things were fine until they weren't.

It doesn't seem out of the realm of possibilities that his explanation of "daily life expenses getting out of control" would explain where some of it went, but it seems unlikely that it would explain everything, and definitely not my mom's credit card debt.

I have contacted a lawyer. Someone I've used in the past and has been helpful so far. Some of the issues with my mother's POA is that she is completely mentally incompetent now, but was competent at the time of issuing the financial POA to my BIL and the medical to me. So that complicates things and likely I will need to go to probate court to make the necessary changes.

Regarding the comments on putting a credit freeze on my mom, and reporting this as fraud. As her POA, I think he was able to open up credit cards in her name, so I don't know if reporting him is really legit. He clearly acted unethically, and maybe we will find that it is illegal at some point, but right now I don't know if that's the best thing to do. I'm not even sure I can freeze her credit now. I have to wait until I meet with my lawyer again.

When this first happened, my other sister and I spoke with my BIL on the phone twice to get his side of the story. He downplayed the financial issues, and said he has made some mistakes and he takes responsibility for it, but what my sister did was worse and he's worried about her. With all divorce, there's always 2 sides to the situation and I'm sure I'm not hearing all of either side. But the bills keep coming in that appear to be unpaid, including a bill to a lawyer that appeared to put my mother's assets into a trust so she would qualify for medicaid to pay for her aid. However, this lawyer's bill said that it was unpaid and carried a balance with interest on it. My BIL said that the bill is being paid monthly and they take off the interest fee when it gets paid. Does that really happen?

I was planning to meet with my BIL to "hand off the POA" to me, or at least get all the financial information handed over to me. But he's been avoiding me, dodging my calls, and I'm convinced that he's not going to talk with me anymore.

The biggest problems we have is that we still do not have all the information on all the financials. My sister keeps discovering unpaid bills and just found out she has as second lien on her house. Without being able to speak with him and get all the information, we can't get a lot of answers to these very good, valid questions that everyone is bringing up. For example, I don't know my mom's bank account information, rent, utilities, medicaid info, health insurance info, information for her in-home aid, and many other things I can't even think of.

I found out this information about my mom by running a credit check on her. My sister got a credit card bill mailed to her house in my mother's name that had no charges on it, but carried a $15K balance on it. So I ran a credit check on her and found that there were 2 open credit cards - one which has had zero payments for over a year and debt of $45K. There's no rational reason for her debt. He insists that her money is in tact, by the way, based on the last conversation I had with him. I'm hoping that it still is and he just used these credit cards to transfer his own debt.

The big problem is that this is much more complicated than just my BIL is an ass and needs to go to lose his job and go to jail. I don't disagree with that statement, but I don't think he did this with any malice and I believe he is a good person. My sister believes he is too. He's a great father and has always been wonderful to my mother. This story is much more complicated than I can possibly go into in this forum. However, I'm trying to stay as pragmatic and unemotional about this to maximize the greatest benefit for the parties involved - mainly my sister's 4 children who are completely innocent and have the most to lose from this situation. No matter what happens, their financial quality of life will go down as it does in most divorces. My mother also is very innocent, but she's old, disabled, and blissfully unaware of what is going on. I will make sure that nothing bad happens to her and she will be able to rebound.

I'll try to write back more frequently to answer the questions directly. I'll also keep you informed as things unfold. The advice and questions are greatly appreciated and you've brought up some really interesting points that I will keep in mind and bring to the lawyer. I'm so annoyed about this whole situation and how expensive and ugly it's going to get.

Thank you all for the words, and please keep them coming. It's quite helpful.

Happy new year!

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by JDCarpenter » Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:05 am

phatkev wrote:...

I was planning to meet with my BIL to "hand off the POA" to me, or at least get all the financial information handed over to me. But he's been avoiding me, dodging my calls, and I'm convinced that he's not going to talk with me anymore.

...

The big problem is that this is much more complicated than just my BIL is an ass and needs to go to lose his job and go to jail. I don't disagree with that statement, but I don't think he did this with any malice and I believe he is a good person. My sister believes he is too. He's a great father and has always been wonderful to my mother. This story is much more complicated than I can possibly go into in this forum. However, I'm trying to stay as pragmatic and unemotional about this to maximize the greatest benefit for the parties involved - mainly my sister's 4 children who are completely innocent and have the most to lose from this situation. ...

....


Sigh. I don't do a lot of probate/PoA litigation, but you are, very understandably, being emotional/subjective. You are seeing an idealized BIL who cares for his children/family more than "X." Don't know what his "X" is, but it seems to outweigh the family in this context. Excluding "malice," and accepting your two postings as fact, he acted recklessly, willfully, and closed his eyes to his knowing violations of fiduciary duty. The fact that he is dodging meeting with you is another red flag (probably can't just hand PoA over to you, but meeting/disclosure is a minimum expectation....)

Objectively, he is a donkey (dunno where forum draws the line, so I'll be prudent!) and needs to be enjoined from doing anything for your mother--and compelled to full disclosure of what has already been done.

Talk to your attorney ASAP.

(The usual caveats: I may well be a dog on the internet, am not licensed and do not practice in your jurisdiction, am not your lawyer and am not giving legal advice. yadda yadda; Talk to YOUR lawyer ASAP.)
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:39 am

JDCarpenter wrote:
phatkev wrote:...

I was planning to meet with my BIL to "hand off the POA" to me, or at least get all the financial information handed over to me. But he's been avoiding me, dodging my calls, and I'm convinced that he's not going to talk with me anymore.

...

The big problem is that this is much more complicated than just my BIL is an ass and needs to go to lose his job and go to jail. I don't disagree with that statement, but I don't think he did this with any malice and I believe he is a good person. My sister believes he is too. He's a great father and has always been wonderful to my mother. This story is much more complicated than I can possibly go into in this forum. However, I'm trying to stay as pragmatic and unemotional about this to maximize the greatest benefit for the parties involved - mainly my sister's 4 children who are completely innocent and have the most to lose from this situation. ...

....


Sigh. I don't do a lot of probate/PoA litigation, but you are, very understandably, being emotional/subjective. You are seeing an idealized BIL who cares for his children/family more than "X." Don't know what his "X" is, but it seems to outweigh the family in this context. Excluding "malice," and accepting your two postings as fact, he acted recklessly, willfully, and closed his eyes to his knowing violations of fiduciary duty. The fact that he is dodging meeting with you is another red flag (probably can't just hand PoA over to you, but meeting/disclosure is a minimum expectation....)

Objectively, he is a donkey (dunno where forum draws the line, so I'll be prudent!) and needs to be enjoined from doing anything for your mother--and compelled to full disclosure of what has already been done.

Talk to your attorney ASAP.

(The usual caveats: I may well be a dog on the internet, am not licensed and do not practice in your jurisdiction, am not your lawyer and am not giving legal advice. yadda yadda; Talk to YOUR lawyer ASAP.)

+1

Bernie Madoff cared for his family too, as do many hardened criminals whose crimes far outweigh Bernie's. Watch American Greed sometime. You'll see lots of fraudsters who claim things just got out of hand, and all the time they were living the high life on other people's money. Sound familiar? But when they eventually get caught like your BIL their whole family suffers for it, just like yours will. That's not caring for his family. If he really cared for them he would have leveled with them when things started going south and agreed on a plan to cut back on the expenses. A POA carries fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of your MIL, not rob her blind.

I don't mean to be harsh. I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you. But you need to realize BIL isn't a good guy who cares for his family. He's a common crook who has intentionally robbed them of all they have until he got caught.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by celia » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:09 am

I, for one, would give him the benefit of the doubt until shown otherwise. With up to 15 vacations a year (or at least one a month!), they WERE spending too much, so it was easy to let things get out of hand. [I know of one case where a family left town often until they finally moved far away--and I have the impression it was intentionally so that one of the spouses wouldn't be able to see another "love interest" very often.]

I would write a letter to BIL and let him know that you believe in him as long as he is willing to work with other family members to help figure out the finances. He needs to turn over all POA information and paperwork to you and provide all the needed information for his wife. Only then can all of you work together. Ask him if he and his wife can agree on some ways to cut expenses, whether they stay together or split. For example, the private school is a big cost. Excess vacations are another. Let him know that you see it as a complex financial issue (until something criminal/fraudulent is shown).

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by kenner » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:25 am

I've practiced law since the 1970's, specializing in complex litigation. I have read your post with great interest and certainly understand your concern for your family. But your brother-in-law's actions, especially his evasiveness about financial matters that affect your sister and mother, lead me to suspect that only the force of the legal system (sworn deposition testimony, production of documents, etc.) will ever fully expose the extent of your brother-in-laws perfidy.

You mentioned "divorce" and that indicates that your sister has hired a divorce attorney - or even a team of attorneys. If so, those lawyers are clearly in the best position to provide definitive advice as to how to proceed based on the law of your state.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by F150HD » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:44 am

phatkev wrote:...my mother. She is a wonderful woman who had as series of unfortunate and sad things happen to her. She had a brain tumor and a subsequent severe brain injury, leaving her in a very debilitated state...

My brother-in-law... opened up 2 credit cards in my mother's name and maxed both of them out to over $45K and her credit score is 522.


then in a later post....

phatkev wrote:
I don't think he did this with any malice and I believe he is a good person. My sister believes he is too. He's a great father and has always been wonderful to my mother.


This thread points to mental illness and manipulation.

IMO you need to drop the hammer ASAP.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by F150HD » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:52 am

kenner wrote:I've practiced law since the 1970's, specializing in complex litigation. I have read your post with great interest and certainly understand your concern for your family. But your brother-in-law's actions, especially his evasiveness about financial matters that affect your sister and mother, lead me to suspect that only the force of the legal system (sworn deposition testimony, production of documents, etc.) will ever fully expose the extent of your brother-in-laws perfidy.

You mentioned "divorce" and that indicates that your sister has hired a divorce attorney - or even a team of attorneys. If so, those lawyers are clearly in the best position to provide definitive advice as to how to proceed based on the law of your state.


+1

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by kiva22 » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:18 am

I only saw it suggested once, but I would second a report to Adult Protective Services (which is what we call it in CA). It's CPS for dependent adults. Financial 'abuse' is one of the mandated reporter categories (I'm a mandated reporter when at work).

Some similar stuff happened with an aunt where some family members got access to her and had her sign all kinds of stuff. I'd just make sure he doesn't have access to her any longer.

Dude belongs in jail.

I hope everybody recovers from the mess soon...

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by livesoft » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:25 am

An acquaintance of mine is serving a jail sentence of about 5 years for fraud. I know his family, his children, etc. Nice guy. The family is doing fine. He is definitely a crook though.

My point is that upper middle class dads can go to jail and the family left behind can do fine.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by TxAg » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:28 am

I dated a girl in college for a few months. Come to find out, her mom spent a year in prison for embezzling $300k from the school that employed her.

I met the mom once, and she was very nice....but still a thief that deserved jail time.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Quark » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:59 am

phatkev wrote:...Regarding the comments on putting a credit freeze on my mom, and reporting this as fraud. As her POA, I think he was able to open up credit cards in her name, so I don't know if reporting him is really legit. He clearly acted unethically, and maybe we will find that it is illegal at some point, but right now I don't know if that's the best thing to do. I'm not even sure I can freeze her credit now. I have to wait until I meet with my lawyer again. ...

A POA may allow him to open a credit card for her, but POAs generally wouldn't allow him to open a credit card in her name and use it for himself. It's using it for himself that looks like fraud. See, for example, http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ ... 33007.html or google "power of attorney fraud".

The longer you let this continue, the harder it will be to fix it.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:18 am

celia wrote:I, for one, would give him the benefit of the doubt until shown otherwise. With up to 15 vacations a year (or at least one a month!), they WERE spending too much, so it was easy to let things get out of hand. [I know of one case where a family left town often until they finally moved far away--and I have the impression it was intentionally so that one of the spouses wouldn't be able to see another "love interest" very often.]

I would write a letter to BIL and let him know that you believe in him as long as he is willing to work with other family members to help figure out the finances. He needs to turn over all POA information and paperwork to you and provide all the needed information for his wife. Only then can all of you work together. Ask him if he and his wife can agree on some ways to cut expenses, whether they stay together or split. For example, the private school is a big cost. Excess vacations are another. Let him know that you see it as a complex financial issue (until something criminal/fraudulent is shown).

Don't forget BIL is a financial advisor. it's one thing if the family decides to forgive and forget BIL's crimes against them. But they can't ignore the possibility he might be robbing his clients too. I don't know about the legal aspects, but IMO they have a moral obligation to notify the authorities so they can investigate this further They can't just settle for some compromise that satisfies the family's concerns but allows BIL to keep bilking his clients.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by Tamalak » Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:07 pm

Movies have taught us that evil people are mustache-twirling puppy kickers.

Actual evil people are exactly like you and me, but they do evil things. And they get away with it because we have such a hard time identifying them for what they are.

In the case of BIL he makes a living coaxing people out of their money. So he is going to be a CHARISMATIC evil person. Even harder to identify.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by leonard » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:06 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
celia wrote:I, for one, would give him the benefit of the doubt until shown otherwise. With up to 15 vacations a year (or at least one a month!), they WERE spending too much, so it was easy to let things get out of hand. [I know of one case where a family left town often until they finally moved far away--and I have the impression it was intentionally so that one of the spouses wouldn't be able to see another "love interest" very often.]

I would write a letter to BIL and let him know that you believe in him as long as he is willing to work with other family members to help figure out the finances. He needs to turn over all POA information and paperwork to you and provide all the needed information for his wife. Only then can all of you work together. Ask him if he and his wife can agree on some ways to cut expenses, whether they stay together or split. For example, the private school is a big cost. Excess vacations are another. Let him know that you see it as a complex financial issue (until something criminal/fraudulent is shown).

Don't forget BIL is a financial advisor. it's one thing if the family decides to forgive and forget BIL's crimes against them. But they can't ignore the possibility he might be robbing his clients too. I don't know about the legal aspects, but IMO they have a moral obligation to notify the authorities so they can investigate this further They can't just settle for some compromise that satisfies the family's concerns but allows BIL to keep bilking his clients.


Agreed. Family forgiveness could easily cross over to aiding and abetting - if they have knowledge of other actual crimes.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by delamer » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:09 pm

JDCarpenter wrote:
phatkev wrote:...

I was planning to meet with my BIL to "hand off the POA" to me, or at least get all the financial information handed over to me. But he's been avoiding me, dodging my calls, and I'm convinced that he's not going to talk with me anymore.

...

The big problem is that this is much more complicated than just my BIL is an ass and needs to go to lose his job and go to jail. I don't disagree with that statement, but I don't think he did this with any malice and I believe he is a good person. My sister believes he is too. He's a great father and has always been wonderful to my mother. This story is much more complicated than I can possibly go into in this forum. However, I'm trying to stay as pragmatic and unemotional about this to maximize the greatest benefit for the parties involved - mainly my sister's 4 children who are completely innocent and have the most to lose from this situation. ...

....


Sigh. I don't do a lot of probate/PoA litigation, but you are, very understandably, being emotional/subjective. You are seeing an idealized BIL who cares for his children/family more than "X." Don't know what his "X" is, but it seems to outweigh the family in this context. Excluding "malice," and accepting your two postings as fact, he acted recklessly, willfully, and closed his eyes to his knowing violations of fiduciary duty. The fact that he is dodging meeting with you is another red flag (probably can't just hand PoA over to you, but meeting/disclosure is a minimum expectation....)

Objectively, he is a donkey (dunno where forum draws the line, so I'll be prudent!) and needs to be enjoined from doing anything for your mother--and compelled to full disclosure of what has already been done.

Talk to your attorney ASAP.

(The usual caveats: I may well be a dog on the internet, am not licensed and do not practice in your jurisdiction, am not your lawyer and am not giving legal advice. yadda yadda; Talk to YOUR lawyer ASAP.)


I am not an attorney in any jurisdiction, but do you have proof that your BIL hasn't continued to exploit your mother, his wife and kids, or his clients financially since this all came to light?

He could be digging himself, and everyone else, into an even deeper hole as I write this. Especially given that he is avoiding you.

Your first duty is to protect your mother. I would take every measure to do so, including reporting your BIL to the police, while keeping your sister and her attorneys informed of your actions.

A very difficult situation, but I think your priorities should be clear.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:13 pm

Tamalak wrote:Movies have taught us that evil people are mustache-twirling puppy kickers.

Actual evil people are exactly like you and me, but they do evil things. And they get away with it because we have such a hard time identifying them for what they are.

In the case of BIL he makes a living coaxing people out of their money. So he is going to be a CHARISMATIC evil person. Even harder to identify.

+1

This fellow apparently is such a great schmoozer that he's got OP and family still believing he's really a good guy after he betrayed them to the tune of over $300K which included skimming $60K from his wife's business and turning MIL's POA into his personal piggy bank. That isn't letting expenses get out of hand; it's robbery. His profession is financial adviser, and he can't control expenses? Give me a break! And it appears he's still playing the family by withholding information while they're trying to work out some solution short of bringing in the law.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by junior » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:15 pm

phatkev wrote: My BIL is a very arrogant, controlling person, who hid this from my sister. She definitely takes some of the blame for her ignorance of the situation, but she was trying to get the information for years, but didn't press very hard because things had been ok for 18 years of marriage, and she was married to a financial investor who handled finances for a living.

Happy new year!


When you write that your brother in law is an arrogant controlling person, that leads me to suspect he's been abusing his wife. (Not all abuse is physical).

You say she's to blame for being "ignorant" but is it possible she could be "ignorant" because when she tried to understand the finances your brother in law was emotionally abusive and manipulative as a strategy to keep her ignorant?

It's pretty startling that you go from indicating that your brother in law is "arrogant" and "controlling" to defending him by saying "but I don't think he did this with any malice and I believe he is a good person".

Controlling people are not good people. I also don't see how your going to help your mom or sister when you apparently can't stop yourself from defending the "arrogant" "controlling" person who is causing the trouble. Maybe there's some subleties I'm missing from an Internet post, but I think what you need to do is fairly simple

1) Find good lawyers

2) Sic them on brother in law to the maximum extent of any civil resolution

3) If the civil evidence process shows clear signs of criminal behavior, you'll probably have to report that too. But that's a decision you can make after talking to the lawyers.

4) stop defending brother in law, if you want to forgive him, consider that after he does jail time (if there are clear signs of criminal activity) and after the litigation is over.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:32 pm

junior wrote:
phatkev wrote: My BIL is a very arrogant, controlling person, who hid this from my sister. She definitely takes some of the blame for her ignorance of the situation, but she was trying to get the information for years, but didn't press very hard because things had been ok for 18 years of marriage, and she was married to a financial investor who handled finances for a living.

Happy new year!


When you write that your brother in law is an arrogant controlling person, that leads me to suspect he's been abusing his wife. (Not all abuse is physical).

You say she's to blame for being "ignorant" but is it possible she could be "ignorant" because when she tried to understand the finances your brother in law was emotionally abusive and manipulative as a strategy to keep her ignorant?

It's pretty startling that you go from indicating that your brother in law is "arrogant" and "controlling" to defending him by saying "but I don't think he did this with any malice and I believe he is a good person".

Controlling people are not good people. I also don't see how your going to help your mom or sister when you apparently can't stop yourself from defending the "arrogant" "controlling" person who is causing the trouble. Maybe there's some subleties I'm missing from an Internet post, but I think what you need to do is fairly simple

1) Find good lawyers

2) Sic them on brother in law to the maximum extent of any civil resolution

3) If the civil evidence process shows clear signs of criminal behavior, you'll probably have to report that too. But that's a decision you can make after talking to the lawyers.

4) stop defending brother in law, if you want to forgive him, consider that after he does jail time (if there are clear signs of criminal activity) and after the litigation is over.

Just to add to the above, what OP calls ignorance I call trust. She trusted him completely with the family's finances and he betrayed this trust BIG TIME.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by chmcnm » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:59 pm

A coworker/friend went through something very similar. It's still is difficult to discuss with her. Words can't even describe what an SOB he was and still is. There's no easy way out or nice way to fix it. Best advice I have is to revoke/suspend/close anything and everything with his name on it. Find a mean pitbull of a lawyer to contest and advise you. He had a good lawyer. She didn't. I know everyone wants to be nice and civil but sometimes you can't be. Otherwise she'll be stuck with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt with no recourse. That's the sad reality. Good luck.

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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:00 pm

phatkev wrote:... There are many illegal things my brother-in-law has done so far, including forging my sister's signature on loan applications and tax returns...

I completely overlooked this tidbit in the original post. If there was any question of whether the law should be brought into this mess, this answers it IMO.
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Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Post by daveydoo » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:11 pm

phatkev wrote:I was planning to meet with my BIL to "hand off the POA" to me, or at least get all the financial information handed over to me. But he's been avoiding me, dodging my calls, and I'm convinced that he's not going to talk with me anymore.


I'm sorry -- this is awful on so many levels for your family. And, as you seem to have inferred, with your assets and skills, you'll probably need to remain a resource for your sister and Mom and to educate yourself on the ins and outs as this process unfolds.

But, as an external observer, I feel I can says that this guy is not a good husband and not a good father, irrespective of the evidence you have. He's a thief and a con-man -- and a pretty good one at that. He planned ahead for this life, professionally, by putting himself in a position to have access to the assets of others (there's no evidence here that he has stolen from clients, and his professional client interface may make this impossible, but who here would be surprised?). He even has your sympathy after he's ruined your sister and stolen from your incapacitated mother. Imo, there's much to do that's well-discussed above, but worrying how this impacts this "good" father isn't really on the list.

And he's made himself inaccessible after this?! To me, that's almost the worst; he should be on his knees begging for your help. Now that would almost be a dilemma. At least you could learn the truth.

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