by Brian Mahany
First there was Ruth Madoff, wife of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff’. Feds say her posh New York City apartment and elegant lifestyle was all financed through Bernie’s crimes. Ruth cooperated with the feds and the receiver and was never prosecuted. Now will Susan Stinson be so lucky?
The government says Stinson took her family on a $24,000 California vacation. Susan is the wife of Robert Stinson, the reported kingpin accused of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked 140 investors of $16 million. Why is the wife’s rather extravagant vacation newsworthy? Because the trip was taken just weeks after Mr. and Mrs. Stinson assets were ordered frozen.
Was this a last hurrah for husband Robert? Maybe. He was booked at one of the hotels as a guest. Published reports do not make it clear if he actually joined his wife on the trip, however.
The court appointed receiver doesn’t think highly of the trip, he thinks Susan should be held in contempt and even go to jail.
Susan apparently told authorities that she failed to carefully read the order. I pulled the order, which was issued on June 29th. To me, there is nothing ambiguous about it. The judge restrained and enjoined Susan Stinson from wasting or dissipating any assets. Bank accounts, cash; it was all frozen.
Although Susan Stinson is not named in the fraud complaint against her husband, she is considered a “relief defendant.” That means the government has not charged her with the original Ponzi scheme conduct but believes she has enjoyed the proceeds of her husband’s criminal conduct.
After spending $24,000 for a California trip, spending monies that may belong to her husband’s alleged victims and spending money after being ordered not to, Susan may find herself vacationing at Club Fed instead of Club Med.
There is another touch of irony in this story. The name of Robert Stinson’s constellation of companies was Life’s Good.
Stinson’s investors may see some of their money returned. Determining how much money victims will see is always difficult. Much depends on whether the fraudster’s assets were spent or hidden and how aggressive the receiver is. Unfortunately, in most cases there is no receiver appointed, leaving victims to collect for themselves.
People victimized by fraud should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Delay allows other creditors to get first in line and allows the fraudster to hide or spend whatever money is remaining.
If you are the victim of a Ponzi scheme, financial fraud or legal malpractice, contact the asset recovery lawyers at Mahany & Ertl, LLC. Our fraud recovery lawyers have helped people across the U.S. From our offices in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Detroit, we can help you recover your hard earned money. For a no obligation, no nonsense consultation, call Brian Mahany today at (414) 704-6731.