University professor convicted of hiding assets is sentenced

Couples filing for divorce are obligated to provide an accurate list of all assets. This is generally the case, though some will do so more willingly than others will. Then there are those who succumb to the urge to hide bank accounts, stocks or other assets. This is never a good idea.

In September we blogged about a professor at the University of Minnesota who made national news because he attempted to falsify the amount in one retirement account and hide the existence of another one. Unfortunately for him, his wife thought the numbers were off and notified the police. This led to an investigation, charges, and a jury finding him guilty of one count of attempted theft by swindle and two counts of aggravated forgery.

Judge hands down sentence

A Hennepin County District Judge has now sentenced him to four years of probation and four months in the county workhouse. The man was also fined $30,000. The three felony convictions will be reduced to misdemeanor charges if he successfully completes his probation. The prosecution had asked for a 3 1/2-year prison sentence for what it called “a tapestry of lies and greed.”

A career in ruins

Some will think that the professor got off easily because he did not go to jail for felony charges. However, the man stepped down from his role as Director of the school’s Technological Leadership Institute and is not teaching any classes. He remains on staff as a researcher, but that status may change depending on whether he appeals and what the outcome of it is. A former employee of NASA, Boeing and several federal government agencies including the Department of Defense, his reputation is now in tatters, which will make it difficult for him to find work to replenish the nest egg he worked so hard to hide.

If an individual thinks their spouse is hiding money in the process of divorce, it is important to notify their attorney, who can further investigate the matter. This may lead to involving the judge if the divorce is litigated, and/or law enforcement. The circumstances of these matters are unique, but the penalties and fines are much worse than an equitable division of assets.

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