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Judge responds to request for harsh sentence in asset-hiding case

A state attorney vowed a few months back to “ask the judge for a tough sentence” in a matter featuring the bad conduct of a divorcing spouse hiding marital wealth. We traced the basic details of that criminal case in our September 28 blog post at The Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh in Somerville.

 

And we duly follow up on them today, in the near wake of that Minnesota judge’s response.

In a nutshell, state officials are happy with the case outcome. The court’s sentencing dictates at a formal hearing earlier this month were essentially a “throw the book” response aimed at a defendant in a family law matter.

As we noted in the above-cited blog entry, the defendant took purposeful and prolonged steps to artificially devalue the amount of money held in his employment-sponsored retirement account. The individual is a tenured and influential engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. His conduct was aimed solely at reducing his divorcing wife’s fair share of marital property amassed by the couple during marriage.

The defendant’s behavior was “a tapestry of lies and greed,” said one government lawyer.

The case is certainly instructive for its takeaway on just how serious the implications can be for an impending ex-spouse seeking to financially cheat in a divorce proceeding.

The defendant was charged on several fraud-related felony counts linked with multiple incidences of unlawful conduct. Authorities also charged him with a number of misdemeanor charges tied to firearm possession. He was sentenced to four years of probation and four months in a state workhouse, and slapped with a substantial fine. If he fails to abide by his probationary terms, he could spend several years in prison.

There is certainly a clear takeaway in the story, namely this: Don’t even contemplate hiding assets during the divorce process. We note on our above-linked blog post that, if you do, there could be “a spillover from a family court to a criminal venue where the potential downsides are truly stark.”