Patricia Cornwell, 53, is the best selling author of the Kay Scarpetta murder mystery series. It was just announced earlier this year that the series had been optioned for a film by Twentieth Century Fox that will star Angelina Jolie as Scarpetta. It’s still in the screenplay phase and it will be some time before production starts.
Cornwell and her same sex spouse, Harvard neuroscientist Staci Gruber, are currently suing an accounting and investment firm for losing their whopping $40 million personal fortune. The tone of this quoted article, which is from an investment site, is condescending to Cornwell and Gruber. In a way I feel sorry for them for trusting these people who squandered their millions. In another way you do have to wonder why they didn’t question what was happening with their money years ago. It sounds like they handed it over to this firm and implicitly trusted them, only to have it completely squandered away before they noticed:
t’s a mystery Kay Scarpetta, the fictional medical examiner and heroine of the hugely successful mystery novels written by Patricia Cornwell, would love to tackle. However, in a plot twist that Cornwell wouldn’t dare to conjure up, this mystery is real.
Gone missing is the $40 million personal fortune of Cornwell and her spouse, Staci Gruber, a Harvard neuroscientist.
While Scarpetta may pursue every minute clue in an effort to find the culprit, the brainy duo of Cornwell and Gruber seem to be clueless when it comes to keeping track of their finances.
In a complaint filed in the Federal Court in Boston on October 13, the two claim that they are victims of their New York-based accounting and financial advisory firm, Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP, which they hired to provide “traditional and non-traditional advisory services.” Among those “non-traditional” services, the two claim the firm said it “would do everything for its clients including buying and delivering their toilet paper.” At least that would have been value added.
According to the complaint, the financial management firm controlled every aspect of the financial lives of its clients and provided them with no information about their assets, liabilities, expenses or net worth. In the four and a half years in which Anchin ran the couple’s finances, they allegedly lost approximately $40 million, while paying themselves almost $1 million “all without providing bills, or billing detail or back-up.”
Where did the money go?
That’s the remarkable part of this case. The complaint does not specify a single investment that was made by Anchin, Block & Anchin. There are some juicy tidbits about unauthorized expenses laid out in the lawsuit like a $5,000 bat mitvah gift to the daughter of a principal of Anchin “whom Ms. Cornwell has never met” and a “gift” of $11,000 to a business associate “who denies ever receiving the funds.” Anchin did not return calls seeking comment by press time.
[From Daily Finance.com]
This sounds similar to Nicolas Cage’s recent money problems in that it’s all the accountant’s fault. Only in Cage’s case he had multiple multi-million investment properties that he must have signed off on. If this report is accurate, Cornwell and Gruber just believed their money was in safe hands and didn’t realize it was being spent. It seems like the only way to be sure what’s happening to your cash is to watch it closely. If you’re a high net worth individual, as some of these people are called, you can’t just expect someone else to manage it all your money for you without some careful oversight on your part. Cornwell and her partner probably aren’t going to go bust, but it looks like they may have to keep working at a point where they were hoping to retire. That’s sadly happening to a lot of people lately.