by Brian Mahany
Ordinarily the inheritance fraud cases we see involve caregivers or family members that coerce an aging parent into signing a new will. Often it is an alert banker or financial professional that discovers the fraud. In this story, it is an insurance agent that apparently committed the fraud.
Thomas Smith was an employee of State Farm Insurance. Later he would leave the company but become an independent contractor still selling the company’s products. Smith was also a personal friend of Kathy and William Baker. When Kathy’s sister died, she left $275,000 to her nephews, the Bakers two sons. Smith helped the boys invest their inheritance by placing the funds into State Farm money market accounts which he administered.
Unfortunately for the boys, Smith converted the money to his own use. How? According to his federal indictment, Smith had the statements sent to a post office box he controlled. That way the boys – or their parents – wouldn’t see monthly account statements. According to prosecutors, over the next few years Smith simply forged checks and embezzled the money.
Court records show that Smith will be sentenced on March 4th. Press reports indicate State Farm has paid restitution to the two boys.
Unfortunately, not every inheritance fraud and theft case has such a happy ending. The Baker boys were lucky because Smith was working as an agent for State Farm. When there is no deep pocket or the theft is by family members, the case becomes more complex.
If you have lost money because of an inheritance fraud or other scam, give us a call. Our fraud recovery lawyers have helped many people get back their hard earned money. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (direct). All inquiries are kept in strict confidence.
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