Investigator: Former Zeeland attorney spent almost all of $900,000 stolen from clients’ trust accounts (MI)

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Of the $900,000 that former Zeeland attorney Kenneth Hoesch took from clients’ estate trusts, only a relative pittance has been found.

He had $2,065.57 in a client trust account at Macatawa Bank and had a coin collection, appraised at $3,388, in a safety-deposit box at Huntington Bank in Zeeland.

The government, which has seized the coin collection, has asked that the cash and coins be forfeited – and go towards the $889,398.66 that Hoesch agreed he owed when he pleaded guilty to mail fraud. Hoesch was sentenced in February to 6½ years in federal prison.

Victims say he took money from dying clients who were trying to put affairs in order but he kept the money for himself. The thefts, which began in 1995, stunned many who considered Hoesch to be a “pillar of the community.”

Many wondered where the money went. At Hoesch’s sentencing, Susan Overbeek said her father worked hard for his money and trusted Hoesch with his assets.

“He knew Ken would protect it. Hoesch stole everything my father gave him. He stole my mother’s future financial security. He stole inheritances. … Ken Hoesch knows where that money is,” she said.

Investigators have searched, but think the money is gone.

Special agent Adam Billmeier of IRS – Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Secret Service agents “conducted an extensive financial investigation” to track down proceeds of Hoesch’s fraud, according to records recently filed in U.S.District Court in Grand Rapids.

In an affidavit, Billmeier said investigators subpoenaed bank and property records and interviewed victims. He showed, for instance, that one victim provided $210,000 intended for a trust account, only to have Hoesch take most of it: $186,000.

Billmeier found that Hoesch usually failed to place clients’ money into trusts, even when asked to do so. When he did place clients’ funds into trusts, he wrote checks directly to himself from those accounts.

“Billmeier further determined that Hoesch ultimately spent his fraud proceeds on personal living expenses,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Fauson wrote in court documents.

“Such expenses included withdrawing funds from the account for spending cash, paying off credit cards, making college tuition payments for his three children, and going on yearly trips to St. Bart’s in the Caribbean.”

Fauson said that Hoesch “spent the fruits of his crime on personal consumption.”

Billmeier wrote: Unfortunately, the investigation revealed that … Hoesch spent the majority of his fraud proceeds for personal living expenses. … At the end of the scheme, Hoesch appeared to be living on credit, and paying the balance of those personally owned credit cards with stolen trust monies.”


Investigator: Former Zeeland attorney spent almost all of $900,000 stolen from clients’ trust accounts
John Agar
October 28, 2014