A friend passed away last month. He happened to be in the Army and had done a fabulous job turning his life around. He was very proud of the fact he was going to be able to leave his four kids a not insubstantial piece of money when his time came. He had loads of insurance and had accumulated a tidy 7-figure sum in his bank account. Then he got cancer. He fought the good fight, supported by his kids and his fiance - who left her job to care for him.
Near the end he withdrew a chunk of cash and bought a nice Chevy Tahoe to use and take one last fishing trip in style with the intent of leaving the new Tahoe to his fiance for her efforts on his behalf. He gave his brothers and relatives in town $1500 each to help cover their expenses while literally on his death watch. His two youngest kids and their mother travelled to town so the kids could say goodbye. The ex was not party to the cash gifts and in fact learned of them later. It did not matter - her current significant other and father covered the trip that was unfortunately extended a couple of days.
He passed away in mid June, surrounded by his family and fiance. He was awarded a full military funeral service. His kids in attendance were each awarded an American flag as a symbol of his service to the country. The 21-gun salute startled and impressed the 3 kids in attendance.
Later in the the day after his funeral a contingent from his army post appeared at his apartment seeking the addresses of his grandchildren to secure their benefits. While the fiance was gathering the info, my friends twin sister jumped in and gave a list to the base personnel and escorted them out of the apartment. She then took my friends laptop, ID and any other personal information she could grab and left.
Later that night at the party celebrating my friend's life, his oldest brother (there are 4) told several people that the sister had emptied out my friends bank account and deposited the money into her own. The amount was in excess of $150,000.00 - earmarked for the four children per my friend's wishes.
One of my friend's younger brothers (also in the Army) was made beneficiary of my friend's LAZER account with the instruction that money be passed on to his kids.
At the party the sister announced there was no will and she was controlling his estate. The brothers immediately began to grouse that she was intent on keeping the cash and proceeds from the insurance policy to which she was beneficiary and would not be passing anything along to the kids. The mother and youngest grandkids had expended their funds and asked for a loan from each brother to fill the tank and head home - $50-$60 or so. All declined, claiming to be strapped for cash and appartently not wanting to tap into that free cash my friend had gifted them with. Luckily the ex-wife of one of the brothers (LAZER brother). overheard the conversation and berated each of the brothers for not helping out. She took the mother to her bank, withdrew some cash and filled the tank and so the ex and the youngest grand kids could head home, exhausted by the stressful week.
Fast forward to a month later. After demanding birth certificates - which were provided - the brother returned them stating the LAZER funds would be arriving in 5 weeks or so and the sister now claimed she was going to give each child a cash award on their HS graduation day. All sounded legitimate. But, my friend's 19-year old son - who previously had been very close to his younger sisters - suddenly refused to speak to them as did his mother. Another younger brother (living in Fort Worth) has suddenly become uncommunicative. Sadly, active Army brother and FT Worth brother are/were two of the affected children's favorite uncles. And it now seemed all of the earlierr protestations and complaints regarding their sister hade simply been a ploy to keep the sister appraised of any actions of the mother's of the 3 youngest kids.
A conversation with an Army Captain friend of the family generated some interesting results for the mother of the two youngest grand kids. Things did not sound right to the Captain and he suggested she contact the base, speak to the Insurance people and the JAG office. If possible check with the bank.
It seems the brother in charge of the LAZER account had never spoken to anyone about it on the base or in the Insurance department and that the birth certificates were not necessary anyway. Furthermore, the woman in charge of the insurance and LAZER was a friend of my friend and his fiance - new for a fact there was a will as she had seen it but that it simply was not filed with the Army. It also seems the addresses for the kids given to the Army are not valid. Conversation with the bank ended with this simple statement - call the police.
The siblings have decided to steal $500,000 in benefits from my friends 4 kids. Stay tuned for the next chapter as JAG (that'd be military legal eagles - remember the tV show?) is involved - the LAZER brother is on active duty and all are liable for federal prosecution for a variety of things. It's not nice to steal from Uncle Sam folks - especially when what you stole was earmarked for the children of a vet. Things are gonna be jumping in Louisiana, Texas and Georgia.