Saturday, April 19, 2008

Trustee of Charitable Trust Takes Money, Goes to Jail

When trust attorney Luther Avery died in 2001, his son, Mark Avery, took over as trustee of a multi-million dollar charitable trust.  The story in the San Francisco Chronicle doesn't say what the purpose of the trust was, or whether any trust funds were spent on the charitable purpose after Mark Avery took over.  Instead Mr. Avery managed to spend $52 million dollars in six months, buying World War II airplanes and a fleet of fighter jets which could be used, or so his accomplice said, by foreign clients fighting rebel armies.  Mr. Avery contended that he took the money as a loan and intended to repay it.  Now he is under a court order to repay the money, although he'll be serving an eight-and-a-half year prison term first.

May Smith had created the charitable trust and was still alive when Mr. Avery took over.  She suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died without realizing what had happened to the trust.

Thanks to Kristina Alayan for sending this story.


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