Legal Ethics

Fraud Victims May Recover Proceeds of Insurance on Lawyer Who Killed Himself, Family

Investors who lost at least $25 million in a Ponzi scheme run by a lawyer who apparently killed himself and his family last year may get the proceeds of an insurance trust because of a ruling by a New York judge.

Judge John Riordan ruled that proceeds of a $5 million insurance policy purchased by the lawyer, William Parente, and held in trust should be transferred to the public administrator overseeing the estate rather than relatives of Parente’s wife, the New York Law Journal reports. The administrator has said he plans to use the money to pay off Parente’s “bona fide creditors.”

Parente apparently killed his wife, Betty, and their 19- and 11-year-old daughters last April in a Baltimore-area hotel room before slashing himself and bleeding to death.

Twenty-seven people have claimed losses totaling more than $25 million, but one lawyer says actual losses could be double that amount, the New York Law Journal says. The victims invested in short-term real estate notes.

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