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Rip-Off Alert: Lawyer embezzles estate of leukemia victim

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 7/02/2013 2:18 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- This Rip-Off Alert is the story of a man who lost his battle with cancer. While his loved ones grieved, their trusted attorney robbed his estate.

When Vernon learned he had an aggressive form of leukemia, he immediately took steps to put his estate in order to protect his family. Erik Varvir, Vernon’s partner, said Vernon made attorney Ken Hoesch the administrator of his will “because the family had used him for years.”

Three weeks later Vernon was gone. Erik and Vernon’s stepson went to Hoesch to settle the estate.

“He was supposed to bring over copies of the master copies of the trust and all the paperwork, Varvir said. “He never did, and that is where it started. He kept giving us excuses.”

After months without answers, postal inspectors began an investigation and found the money from Vernon’s estate was gone — all of it.

“He did it fairly quickly; we didn’t realize it,” Varvir said. “But he had started to withdraw money from Vernon’s trust two weeks after he died in $30,000 increments.”

“It’s devastating, especially to find out it’s a professional is the one that did that,” Vernon’s son said. “They are supposed to be watching out for you, not taking advantage of you.”

Vernon’s family was not alone. Postal inspectors say there were multiple victims and more than $800,000 in losses among the cases.

“It was quite substantial loss because it involved people’s estates everything they had saved all of their lives,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Gil Webb. “It was just taken from them.

“He was taking advantage of elderly people, people he knew, organizations, people that were due certain things, and he had no right to just take them and do what he wanted with them.“

“The level of betrayal is indescribable,” Varvir said. “Who speaks for him? It was Vernon’s money."

Postal inspectors say Ken Hoesch spent the money he stole on very expensive trips and an art collection. Hoesch received 6 1/2 years in prison and was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution.


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