Local attorney, accountant spend elderly client’s estate, now facing prison time

Bart Bedsole
November 19, 2006
KRISTV.COM (TX)

A local attorney and accountant are facing prison time for taking more than half a million dollars from an 82-year old man, who was one of their clients. Andrew Huffmeyer will serve five years, after pleading guilty on Monday, and Colin Kaufman is awaiting his punishment, after he was found guilty by a jury Friday.

They were charged with misapplication of fiduciary property, which is not quite the same as stealing. They had permission and authority to spend some of their client’s money, but not half a million dollars and not for the purposes that they spent it.

What makes this a disturbing story is the victim, Arthur Carothers, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.

“An 82-year old man, who was a 30-year Army veteran, who lived a nice quiet life, amassed a small fortune, and was tragically hit by a car,” Assistant Attorney General David Glickler said.

That accident happened near Airline and Alameda in January of 2002. Carothers fell into a coma and died four months later. He had hired Huffmeyer as the accountant to take care of his estate.

Huffmeyer then hired Kaufman as an attorney. The two then bled Carothers of more than half a million dollars. Prosecutors showed the jury a long list of expenses that he was charged. They include $261,000 for “conferences between Huffmeyer and his lawyers, usually at restaurants,” $49,000 For “travel to San Antonio and Delaware to change signature cards,” $6,000 for “visiting the hospital,” and $11,000 for attending the funeral and burial.

Kaufman now suffers from several medical conditions including diabetes and congenital heart failure. But prosecutors aren’t giving him any slack.

“This is one of the more egregious white collar criminal cases we’ve been involved with,” Glickler said.

Kaufman could receive anywhere from probation to life in prison.

Col. Carothers had intended for a large part of his estate to go to a university foundation and a Methodist church in Indiana, and it looks like those organizations will both finally have their money very soon.

The two men won’t be the last two people tried in this case. Thursday, Kaufman’s wife, Sharon, was indicted for “engaging in organized criminal activity.”

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  • ackerman

    Life or death……tear gas him SWAT to create tent cities they deserve asphyxiation as do police that use it.when will they understand you cannot force respect. It can only be earned.