We submitted the man's name to our legal department – in those days I regarded Morgan Stanley as a law firm with a very large financial subsidiary —and sure enough, our prospect was on the bad guy's list. He was Pablo Escobar's first cousin, knee-deep in the family's drug business. Needless to say, we cut off all contact.
As a rule, however, families don't employ legions of lawyers to shut down bad guys. They rely on Google and the other tools of amateur sleuths. The more sophisticated the criminal, the better they are at eluding these kinds of checks.
I explore this issue in "The Trust," my new novel about a fictitious organization based in Charleston, S.C., the Palmetto Foundation. Palmetto is similar to the large family foundations that some of my former clients maintained, which did plenty of good work but always ran on shoestring budgets. No lawyers. No compliance departments. No lists of bad guys.
Family foundations, I thought, might be the perfect vehicles for laundering money.
I'm sure "The Trust" will alarm many who work in the not-for-profit sector or have close ties to philanthropic organizations. But you don't need to be charitable to be a target. All you need are money and weak defenses.
What can high-net-worth families do to protect themselves from financial predators?Page 2 of 5 | Prev Page | Next Page