Hartley, Maxwell, & Castellano Attorneys at Law
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University professor caught trying to hide assets

Dividing marital assets is a complicated process that involves itemizing a complete list of bank accounts, real property, and other possessions of value. The list must be as comprehensive as possible with the understanding that some assets (such as stocks) will fluctuate in value. In a perfect world, the couple looks at the list and comes to an equitable agreement with help of their attorneys. However, the temptation to deceive or mislead can prove to be too appealing for some spouses.

Deceit leads to criminal charges

A jury found a University of Minnesota professor guilty of forging documents to hide the accurate amount of money in one retirement account and the existence of a second account. According to local news reports, the total amounted to nearly $354,000 in assets.

Jurors also found several other aggravating factors, which likely will lead to a harsher sentence than normally are recommended by the state. These include accusations of theft and swindle over an extended period.

The man also bought 14 handguns in a 17-day period in 2017 after being charged with aggravated forgery. He agreed to pay a fine and sell the guns. If there are no weapons violations over the next year, the seven charges related to the purchase of the guns when facing charges will be dismissed.

Reputation at risk

After working for NASA, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Rockwell International and various federal agencies, the man is currently a professor of electrical and computer engineering and the director of the Technological Leadership Institute. The school said that it is continuing to monitor the situation, but no employer welcomes this kind of publicity.

A civil action that turned criminal

While a good lawyer can legally fight for certain assets as non-marital and take other legal steps to protect assets, cheating the legal system is never advisable. This professor is obviously a smart man, but poor decisions will cost more money than he initially would have paid. It can also mean such penalties as time in jail.

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