Bernard Madoff Feed

Exploitation of France's richest woman? Her daughter says yes, but she says no!

Liliane Bettencourt is considered to be France's richest woman.  She inherited the controlling share of L'Oreal (if you're a man and don't know what L'Oreal is, ask your wife or girlfriend).  She presently owns about 28% of the cosmetics company and has an estimated fortune worth 23 billion dollars (U.S.).  Yet her only daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, filed a lawsuit alleging that her 86-year-old mother is incompetent and is being taken advantage of by an artist and photographer described as a "dandy" and a "charmer" according to this article in The Australian.

Meyers' lawyer charges that Francois-Marie Banier has exploited Bettencourt to the tune of more 1.3 billion dollars in "gifts".  Bettencourt strongly disagrees.  She says she was examined by a psychiatrist a couple days before Christmas and proved she was competent.  She calls Banier a long-time friend of 20 years, both to her and to her late husband.  While she admits giving him valuable gifts, including a Picasso and a Matisse, the value is small compared to her total net worth.

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Scammers, thieves and crooks

Probate litigation consists of more than family feuds.  Sadly, I see far too many instances of fraud, exploitation and theft against seniors.  Scam artists often seek out those with diminished capacity, loneliness, a trusting nature, and -- of course --available money.  These cases run the gambit from a stolen checkbook or ATM card to very sophisticated fraud.  Either way, the results can be devastating. 

On December 11, 2008, the SEC formally charged Bernard L. Madoff with running a fraudulent Ponzi scheme of mind-blowing proportions.  You can read the formal SEC Complaint.  The allegations include statements from his employees who said that Madoff took money from investors without actually investing it.  Instead he kept or spent the money, lied to his investors, and took money from one to give to the next. 


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