Money Matters - Simplified

Son of millionaire philanthropist Aston convicted

The jury convicted Anthony D. Marshall of 14 counts, which included first-degree grand larceny and scheming to defraud. But he was found not guilty of two charges, forging business records and larceny

New York, October 9 -- Putting an end to five month trial, a jury on Thursday found legendary philanthropist Brooke Astor's son guilty of deceiving his mother into altering her will.

Marshall, a former U.S. ambassador and Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, was accused of looting his mother's nearly $200 million estate.

Estate attorney Francis X. Morrissey Jr. was convicted of abetting 85-year-old Marshall in looting his mother of millions of dollars and found him guilty of all the five charges, which included conspiracy and forgery.

The verdict is scheduled for Dec. 8. Marshall could face up to 25 years in prison and Morrissey up to 7 years.

Marshall and the estate attorney had indulged in a range of fraudulent activities to trick Aton to change her will left for charity. Morrissey was even accused of forging Aston’s signature on one of the alteration made in the will.

Aston, a legendary philanthropist, who died at the age of 105 in 2007, was known for her charitable works at institution like hospitals, museums, universities, libraries etc.

Her last will, created as on Jan. 30, 2002, left millions of dollars to various institutions but alterations made in 2003 and 2004 left most of her estate to Marshall.

These activities came to light when Marshall’s son Philip Marshall in 2006 accused his father of looting Aston’s fortune while letting her live in squalor.

Witnesses testified on Astor’s mental state
Aston had suffered from Alzheimer and majority of the 72 witnesses confirmed about her mental confusion in the last years of her life.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Loewy said Marshall "stole from his mother while she suffered from Alzheimer's disease, making her life worse while enriching his own".

The witnesses in the case included Astons friends like Barbara Walters, Nancy Kissinger and Annette de la Renta.

Among others were former butler, chauffeur, maids and nurses who took care of her needs.

Readers online discussing trial
Many readers have taken to blogs, forums and are discussing the case. The case has fascinated people as it has offered them a glimpse into the tragic end of a millionaire philanthropist and New York City socialite.

A reader named CLEAVAGE_RHOMBOID commented on nymag.com “This is sad, but Anthony Marshall has technically screwed over his own two sons for decades, so this is sort of a case of the cycle repeating itself.

“It's unfortunate, but kind of a case of karmic retribution if you ask me.”