Patricia Cornwell & partner sue investment firm for losing $40 million fortune

Galaxy Book Awards: Winners Boards
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]

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.

Galaxy Book Awards: Arrivals

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

50 Responses to “Patricia Cornwell & partner sue investment firm for losing $40 million fortune”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. DoMaJoReMc says:

    Oh, I LOVE this woman. She is such a fantastic writer. She is sharp in her writing and I can find myself reading one of her books in a day. Never being able to put them down!I am sorry to hear of the financial mess she and her partner are in. I guess no matter how brilliant one is, someone is always just a step ahead of you..taking your money. That’s why I’m glad I don’t have any to be taken! LOL!

    I am DREADING seeing Angeline Ho-lie play her character, though. I have never been a fan of hers.

  2. Sumodo says:

    Patricia, when you discover you don’t have money anymore, you adjust. Buy whole chickens and cut them up yourself. Buy the store brand canned goods, and Sargento cheese is a good deal when it’s 2 for $5. California wine prices are down, and you can get great stuff for under $10. And, my real money-saving trick is making big pasta salads with chicken that you can eat off of for 4 days. You can do it, woman. Hardy-har-har!

  3. Firestarter says:

    With multi millions, you never ASSUME your money is safe in the hands of anyone other than yourself.

    Mason jars people, Mason jars! You may not increase your money, but you sure as eff don’t lose it either!

  4. scout says:

    I’m sorry but in 4.5 years they never received (nor asked for) a statement of any kind? How can one live on assumptions and then be surprised when things are a mess?).

  5. HarbinsMom says:

    I hate this for Patricia and Staci. She is my favorite author and I have been reading her since her first book came out. I will have to say, though, Angelina Jolie is a poor choice to play Scarpetta. She is just as ill-suited to this role as she was in Jeffrey Deaver’s book/movie *The Bone Collector*.

  6. NIKKI says:

    I have no sympathy. No one, and I mean no one should be trusted with your money! If you choose to invest, be sure to read up on where your money is going and most importantly keep track of it.

  7. NIKKI says:

    LOL @ Sumodo! I do that! Hey, it pays to save; pasta is my friend, throw some plum tomatoes in, and some olives, get some protein – salmon’s my favourite – and a nice salad dressing: olive oil/vinegrette, and woala (sp).

  8. Sumodo says:

    @NIKKI you got it, girl. Tri-color rotini, olive oil, lemon juice, white vinegar, chopped parsley, parmesan, capers (optional) olive pieces, can of diced tomatoes, chicken, can of drained shoepeg corn. Cracked black pepper. Eat for 4 days. Now, if rich-y rich types who lose all their money because they never ask for a receipt can do this, they’d be happier.

  9. Firestarter says:

    For the ladies talking about savings- Coupons are my new BFF! Plus, Michalina’s frozen entrees are really cheap, and a great alternative to the higher priced Stouffer’s brand.

    I agree, no symapthy. The chances of either her or Cage recovering any money are slim to none. Pay attention, and if you never bother to ask for a detailed accounting, it’s on YOU!

  10. Sumodo says:

    Oh, and how do you lose 40 MILLION DOLLARS? I can see losing track and losing a grand here, or a grand there, but 40 MILLION DOLLARS!??

  11. Fat Elvis says:

    More proof that intelligence and common sense don’t always walk hand in hand. Bummer.

  12. Bete says:

    With multi-millions, one would assume that an ordinary bank can look after a hefty fortune, that would still accrue impressive interest.
    BUT…and there is always a but, these investment schemes reflect greed of investment firms, but more importantly, the people who expect more returns -like 40 million isn’t enough for these people. They need to invest so they can make even more millions via schemes.
    They deserve what they get.

  13. AlaskaJoey says:

    Yeah, I’m going with “pay attention to your damn money, woman!” Jesus. Of course, sounds like even if this company did provide statements, they’d be false, huh?

  14. Beth says:

    How do you not get any statements and financial information? If I had them as clients I would probably rob them blind too. I thought Angelina was fine in “The Bone Collector”. But for the life of me I can’t picture her as Dr. Kay Scarpetta. I think somebody older should play her.

  15. hatsumomo says:

    Damn, this sucks for her. I used to love reading her books when I was younger and always imagined myself a medical examiner after her(and Dana Scully). I hope she can recoup some of her losses. These investment firms are supposed to be staffed with people who are supposedly the best at managing money. Thats why they charge you an arm and a leg for their services. She better get every penny from those bastards. And afterward she can employ Sumodo for her money and lifestyle services!

  16. Sumodo says:

    @hatsumomo Thank you! I have been unemployed for a month but still paid my car payment today. Whew! Got my check this week and the dog can get his shots. And, Patricia Cornwell take note: Winn Dixie gives you $10 off coupons during the week to use on the weekend. I once got $80 of groceries (using the coupon and Winn Dixie special buys) for $40 and change. If I ever come close to that again, I dunno. But, the Super Rich can LEARN.

  17. Raven says:

    Beth, it’s called honesty and fiduciary responsibility. I guess your neighbors better get the security services plus, living next door to you. And then buy a really big gun, just to be safe.

  18. Just a Poster says:

    Does anyone remember reading about a blind about a “famous crime novelist” having a gambling problem? Many thought it was her.

  19. NIKKI says:

    Also, when I am too lazy to cook, I have discovered Healthychoice cafe steamers! wow! and they’re great! sorry I sound like an advert. LOL.

    ON a side note, I think rich people get stupid when they have money…because they think it’ll never run out, so they don’t pay attention. The reason we pay attention to our money so well is because we know it can and will run out (if you’re not careful)

  20. burnshand says:

    I love the books and she’s a brilliant writer, but you’d think they watch their money a little better. Umm…

    Angelina Jolie was an AWFUL casting choice for Scarpetta, in the book she is described as 40ish with short, blonde hair. What the he11 was she thinking?!? Maybe she’s not as smart as we think she is…..

  21. Madchen says:

    What about Gillian Anderson to play Scarpetta? Or Ashley Judd?

  22. burnshand says:

    I’d like to see Kyra Sedgwick (from The Closer) to play Scarpetta. :)

  23. Sumodo says:

    @Madchen Ashley Judd please!

  24. cee says:

    Angie is a wonderful choice to play Scarpetta. Haters hang out everywhere don’t they. Your jealousy is showing folks.

  25. vico says:

    I’ve been reading and loving her books for years. Jolie is bad choice, agree Kyra Sedgwick would be perfect. I do think Jolie was right for the Bone Collector. I hope it works out for her.

  26. Jeri says:

    I used to really like her books but more more in recent years Kaye comes off as a mean bitter BITCH, so much so it’s becoming a bummer to read her but I keep hoping she’ll revert to better days. Anyone but Angelina but then again, Angelina is a mean bitter BITCH.

  27. pickelhaube says:

    Oh God, NO. This woman lost money so we all know what that means…she’s gonna be pumping out more of her craptacular “novels”. I read one once, it was pure garbage. Not as bad as that horrid Nora Roberts (who IMO is the worst writer ever), but still pretty trite and boring. And so, of course they’re making it into a movie!Can’t wait.

    I’m just bitter because this woman’s crap novels take up space in the bookstore, so they never have what I need, yet there’s a million of her “should be used for toilet paper” books everywhere you look. Ugh.

  28. Ron says:

    hmmmm no statements is the hard part to understand. However, my family has a large company and we had an accountant the embezzled from us. We even had a secondary accountant who audited the books he didn’t catch it. She was very clever and we trusted her implicitly. You have to be very careful with trusting others with your money, but as I do often, I think most people have the best intentions and are honest. It sucks when you are proven otherwise.

  29. Mrs. Scarlett says:

    What about Helen Hunt or Cate Blanchett?? Both actresses would be excellent for the role of Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

    I was so disapointed in her choice of Angelina, what a let down to the fans….

  30. murmur says:

    The LAST person I would have come up with to play Scarpetta would be Jolie. I don’t care what kind of actress she is, she is going to ruin the movie for me.

  31. Feebee says:

    @ Jeri, couldn’t agree more. I love the Scarpetta series but Kay is definitely moving towards being annoying to read about. Cannot believe the casting of Angelina Jolie! I didn’t think of Kyra Sedgwick but that sounds much better. I’ll never get Ashley Judd’s appeal so no there too. Possibly though a slightly less known actress may be better.

  32. Mel says:

    Alright, Alright, enough fawning over this horrible woman. Do any of you read Vanity Fair?

    It’s bad enough Cornwell had plastic surgery to make her look like Jody Foster, but she “stalked” Foster on the set of “Contact”, prompting a court injunction.

    Far worse were her crimes against the art world: She sullied the reputation of the great British painter Walter Sickert by claiming he was Jack the Ripper with absolutely no proof. She spent millions buying Sickert’s work from British museums and proceeded to have them torn up so she could get a DNA sample. She did not get the DNA sample. That Cornwell has now lost millions through bad investments sounds a little bit like the ghost of Walter Sickert getting revenge.

    So really, who gives a cr*p about her novels or who is starring in the movie versions. No one should give credence to this lunatic…

  33. Firestarter says:

    @Mel- All very interesting stuff. Thanks for the info.
    To be honest, I am not a big fan of her work.

  34. lucy2 says:

    Sucks for them, but don’t they have some responsibility? As others have said, did they not get statements or keep an eye on their balances? This idea of putting everything you have in the hands of one person or company and then assuming it’s all fine and dandy is flat out STUPID. Five minutes on any financial website can tell you that. It amazes me that people who were smart or talented enough to amass such a fortune would be so foolish with it. If there was fraud here I hope it’s dealt with properly, but I can’t say I feel all that bad for them, if they can’t be bothered to keep an eye on it themselves, like any other adult should do.

    Her books are just OK, I think, but Angelina Jolie is a terrible choice to play this role. It should be someone older and more credible. At the time of the announcement, I think names like Glenn Close, Jodie Foster, and Diane Lane were discussed and any of them would be much more well suited to the role.

  35. la chica says:

    when you’re rich enuf to not notice that you’re missing 40 mil, it’s probably because you have twice that amount left in the kitty.

  36. stacy says:

    I like her novels, now bring on the Jolie Sainthood…AJ is a HORRIBLE choice for Scarpetta. Now keep in mind, crazies, this has nothing to do with Jolie, this is about the improper casting of a notable character. I would like to see Helen Hunt. She seems normal enough :)

  37. Trashaddict says:

    Jolie is wrong. She is almost too confident. Kay Scarpetta is really smart, a little bit paranoid, and for some reason I think of her as short. With a chip on her shoulder. She’s also not too thin. I think Kyra is too thin and Helen Hunt doesn’t have enough edge. It would be really good to get a relatively unknown actress in the role.

  38. JaneL says:

    Same sex spouse? How insulting. She is her WIFE.

  39. Popcorny says:

    I don’t know who this woman is.
    I just clicked on because I thought Meg Ryan had really blew it this time with her plastic surgery.

  40. Blanca says:

    ‘Mean bitter bitch’ REALLY.I could understand the bitch part but mean and bitter.I never have heard of her being mean or bitter about anything.She doesn’t whine or complain about anything in her life or be so ungrateful about what was giving to her like ’40 and fabulous’.

  41. Blanca says:

    And I don’t understand how a woman that has been with one man for 4-5 years and has had and adopted 4-6 children is a HO but a woman who has been with 4-6 men in the same time period is not a Ho.

  42. Firestarter says:

    OMG! Please tell me that Bianca is NOT bringing up Aniston in this thread. Are you serious? WTF does Aniston have to do with any of this? People really need to calm the hell down over this Jolie vs Aniston stuff. It is getting laughable! Jeez!

  43. Blanca says:

    Well there you you know that if someone/thing has nothing to do with the thread why bring it up. like calling jolie a ho.if this was about tabloids talking about her questionable past love life then yeah by all means go call her a ho.

  44. Firestarter says:

    Bianca- YOU are the one who brought it up, not me, or are you trying to say that your previous posts had nothing to do with her? Give it a rest!

  45. Blanca says:

    I am talking about this other people.I am very sorry if bothered you but my hackles go up and my feet want to stomp.I wasn’t trying to start anything.pardon.

  46. Blanca says:

    I am talking about this other people.I am very sorry if bothered you but sometimes my hackles go up and my feet want to stomp. I was just asking a simple question.I wasn’t trying to start anything.pardon.

  47. Sue says:

    Same sex spouse = wife. I don’t tend to call my husband my “opposite sex spouse.” I assume from her wife’s teaching at Harvard that they’re in MA, where it’s same sex *marriage,* not a domestic partnership or civil union.

  48. ariadne says:

    I feel sorry for people who unfairly lose their jobs, crimes against the innocent and such. I do not feel sorry for this ridiculous lady. Either she is dumb as dirt or she is lying. She mentions some small amounts of money but hello with 40 mill there has got to be some big ticket items somewhere in 4 years time.
    If she thought ripping up millions of dollars of art acceptable behavior then she should deserves to be broke.

  49. pickelhaube says:


    Why do your hackles go up when someone talks about St. Jolie? I am not trying to be a bitch here or insult anyone, but what the hell is it about Angelina that makes people defend her like she’s something so special? Why would anyone have so much emotion invested in a celebrity, especially when that celeb doesn’t know, or even care about you?

    In the interest of full disclosure, I cannot stand Jolie (I hate women who go after men in relationships), but I don’t have any real feeling about her one way or another. Like, I don’t seek out news about her because who cares? What makes people so batshiat crazy about this woman? It is a mystery to me…