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Missing UTMA
Posted by: Drewremedy, October 24, 2011 01:09AM
Essentially the custodian of a UTMA failed to exercise any level of care for a PA UTMA and the original donor of the rather substantial fund helped himself to the annual proceeds then forged some paperwork changing UTMA account held by a name broker and properly registered to child with parent as custodian under PA UTMA law etc --back to donors name . Custodian was parent but did not spend a dime of these funds on child --just slept at the switch . Probably could not complete an accounting of anything.

Upon the intended's reaching majority and discovering all this is missing , what are his major options for applying serious heat to recover all funds.

Criminal issues:

Civil issues:


Re: Missing UTMA
Posted by: Alan S., November 3, 2011 03:24AM
Assuming the child has explored other options and has settled on a goal of collecting damages, this seems to be a logical order:

1) Have a lawyer well versed in PA UTMA law to secure the account balance at various times and a record of all distributions.
2) Request from the parent transfer of lost funds plus a reasonable rate of interest to the child. Use forgery charges as added leverage.
3) If parent is insolvent, proceed against the custodian for dereliction of duty.
4) Be ready to respond to any claims that withdrawal expenditures were used for the benefit of the child.

Re: Missing UTMA
Posted by: Drewremedy, November 5, 2011 12:49PM
Thanks for the suggestions

Re: Missing UTMA
Posted by: Sven, November 6, 2011 06:35PM
I would start by pulling together as many facts and documents as possible. I would not spend money on a lawyer to look at civil remedies right away.

After I got my ducks in a row I would then ask to meet with a local prosecutor and attempt to interest him or her in the case. I do not believe that is going to go very far. I certainly would not threaten anyone on the other side with going to the authorities, because in some circles people believe that's a crime far worse than whatever somebody did to diddle the minor out of his money. If you go to the criminal authorities first, disclosing the fact you already have met with them is not the same as saying to the other side I'm going to go to the authorities if you do not give us a wad of money. It may not be received well, as in, "why didn't you talk to us first", but I am going to guess that boat has long since sailed.

Finally, I would talk to a good lawyer and see if anyone thinks various "demand" letters might get a settlement moving. If not, then you need to start a civil lawsuit, which means costs and expenses. But filing suit gives your side the right to discover what kind of paperwork the other side has hiding in the weeds, and also the right to depose people to pin down their stories. That usually gets more attention than a demand letter.

Good luck.

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