A brief synopsis of the saga that began in 1996 and goes on still
In August of 1996, I received a telephone call that a Federal Bureau of Investigation search warrant was being executed upon my eighty-three (83) year old father Wilfred Bell’s country home in Vermilion Parish, Kaplan, Louisiana. Concerned, but uncertain of the extent of the legal problem, I immediately contacted the Vermilion Parish Sheriff himself, who confirmed that several sheriff’s officers and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were in fact at my father’s home executing the warrant.
The Sheriff, a long time family friend, advised that I not become involved in the search at that time; and that should my father require medical attention, given his age and the seriousness of the circumstances, his medical needs would be met by the multitude of law enforcement officers currently conducting the search. He advised I would not be allowed on the property during that process. I had a minimum amount of information, given to me by the friend who made the first call to me that my father was in big trouble.
In meeting with my father, soon after the search of his home and seizure of personal items, having been more fully apprised of the situation, I understood the seriousness of the pending criminal indictments. The first matter at hand was to convince my father that his attorney had a conflict of interest and needed to be fired as my father’s legal counsel immediately. This attorney also represented multiple adverse parties including, the drug dealer (who the FBI had been after for many years), a number of prostitutes, and some wealthy farmers from the same Vermilion Parish area, soon all to be criminal defendants along with my father.
Under the duress of the situation, I, within hours solicited leads and obtained a formidable criminal attorney, who had served as a U.S. attorney, to represent my father, I had finally convinced my father of the urgent need for new counsel. Within one day of obtaining the new attorney, Frank Dawkins, of Lafayette Louisiana, contact was made with the United States Attorney and prosecutors to discuss my father’s circumstances. If not for Mr. Dawkins experience, quick action and legal representation, among other disasters my father would likely have died in a federal prison.
It was a dire situation and within a matter of hours, we turned State and Federal witnesses in both the State and Federal cases involving a drug and prostitution ring in Vermilion parish and surrounding parishes. By the next day my father, his attorney, and myself were ushered into a very important meeting with the United States Attorney, prosecutors, Vermilion parish sheriff detectives and federal bureau investigators. All attended during the drilling questions posed to my father by these federal agents. If not for Mr. Dawkins quick action and legal representation, among other disasters my father would likely have died in a federal prison.
At the start of this meeting, it was clearly explained to my father, and re-cautioned sternly, that should he lie about one thing during this meeting, his one chance to redeem himself, then everything he disclosed during the meeting could be used against him in prosecution. Imagine being 83 years old, totally devoid and lacking of any moral ethics, and actually believing you did nothing wrong; and also being very hard of hearing, in poor health, and suffering from neuropathy, causing instability in stance and great difficulty with mobility. Or, imagine being in a foreign setting with seven to eight federal officers for an entire afternoon, and having a criminal attorney sitting next to you that you have only known for three days and with whom you only had a one hour initial meeting.
During this most important meeting of his life, my father, who was known by his family as being a consummate liar his entire adult life, lied! No big surprise. The consequence of my father telling “one” lie during the meeting with federal prosecutors was a $40,000 federal forfeiture, executed on his home, with the forfeiture being published by the federal government, as required by law prior to seizure. My father looked at me to pay the forfeiture because as he testified, he didn’t have any money.
After we enrolled new counsel Mr. Dawkins, my father’s previous attorney and the drug dealer continued to visit my father’s home in the middle of the night. Each night they would bang at his back door screaming, asking if he was there. Thank God, they never broke in because I think our lives would have come to an abrupt end. We were concerned they would find out we had turned state and federal witnesses and feared for our safety, literally. We knew law enforcement had the drug dealer on a wanted list, so we knew he was capable of harming us. I know this, as I was there with my father; we hardly slept for three weeks while the authorities came up with a plan for their sting operation.
All the while every surrounding news media had ever rolling coverage of these circumstances. Finally, the sting operation occurred and indictments were issued, but the threats continued. I received a written threat at my home address that I delivered to the FBI. These were perilous times. My father, his new attorney Mr. Dawkins and I worked closely with federal and state law enforcement in their effort to successfully prosecute other alleged criminal defendants. In fact, my father’s attorney and I agreed to testify at a second trial when the first trial ended in a hung jury.
The second trial was successful; and again I had concern for “future” safety, as our testimony on behalf of the government, was detrimental to these other defendants. To the best of my recollection the drug dealer, Patrick Mire, was sentenced to 10 years, my father’s first attorney, Bill Lynch, was sentenced to seven years, and another female conspirator Barbara Richardson was sentenced to two five year consecutive sentences. We were never guaranteed any favor, in fact we were warned by agents that our assistance would not bring us any favor, accept a letter of acknowledgment that we provided assistance when it came to my father’s sentencing. In spite his age, health issues and cooperation, he was sentenced to six months to be served in a federal institute, and another parish farmer, caught up in the mess, was also sentenced to six months.
As a matter of record, my father’s federal pre-sentence report confirmed that I paid the $40,000 forfeiture a consequence of my fathers dishonesty, and that my father executed a promissory note and mortgage to me in order to secure it. I did so in order to salvage the home from the federal government’s forfeiture, as they agreed to accept the $40,000 in lieu of the seizure. It is important to note when my father divested his entire patrimony, as federal authorities were aware, he also divested $150,000 in cash to me, which was used in efforts to clean up his legal mess and pay his personal debts, prior to and after the criminal matters. In a deposition, my father testified that he divested the cash and we never had another conversation about it. Although not required, I provided a cash accounting of that divestiture which was accepted into the litigation record against me. The cash accounting I provided was accepted without contest and confirmed that there was insufficient cash (actually $13,000 in arrears) from my father divested cash to pay the federal government in order to avoid the forfeiture. During all these events, beginning in August of 1996, I was forced to secure three additional mortgages the first, a $58,570.00 mortgage on my personal residence. Just my personal financial debts incurred due to this family quagmire were near $85,000.
All the while I was distributing from the trust $60,000 to each sibling beneficiary. I did so even having been advised that as trustee I may be required to reconstitute the entire trust if any revocatory action were filed. I understood clearly that upon the filing of any revocatory action, the burden to reconstitute would fall on my shoulders. I knew, as is obvious in this website, the beneficiary siblings would not give back their distributions and I made the distributions anyway, trying to do the right thing.
In fact during my very first meeting with the trust accountant I mentioned to her; “It does not matter if I’m successful in saving this trust or if I fail, my siblings will be suing me somewhere down the line anyway.” I knew these family dysfunctional circumstances all to well and I stepped forward to suffer personal losses anyway. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!
The first of the three additional mortgages I personally secured was a $16,000 loan. FBI agents had warned me that the prostitute traffic to my father’s home had not ceased, and that if it did not he may be looking at more state and federal charges. I changed his telephone number three times, only to have prostitutes continue calling him. The final time I changed his number I had to withhold the number from him so that the calls would finally cease. The mothers of these prostitutes were still bringing their daughters out there, in spite of their having been interviewed by federal authorities. It was a completely uncontrollable circumstance and worst of all, my father was the main culpable party. I followed the advice of the FBI agent and our attorney to stop his criminal behavior. My father had been an avid hunter and angler all his life, so I borrowed $16,000 to improve a small camp in the Achtafalayee basin, which was miles away from his home. For the next year I kept him busy in the basin area 3-4 days each week to break the cycle of criminal activity at his farm home. Although I personally secured this loan it was a legitimate trust expense incurred in effort to save assets from any future victims given my fathers continuing indiscretions. All while working entirely on contingency not knowing if I would save the assets. A second loan for $10,000 was secured.
The personal indebtedness I had undertaken trying to clean up the family mess was approximately $84,000.
Given the expeditious chain of events his attorney advised my father to divest of all his assets in order to save the family properties from judgment in any civil suit filed against him; he also advised that he did not think we would be successful. During the second week after the warrant had been served, due to the gravity of circumstances of my father’s egregious behavior I had no recourse but to advise my clients, with whom I had lucrative consultant contracts of my circumstances, and inform them that I would not be able to fulfill my professional obligations to them.
My father thereafter registered as a pedophile; however, his behavior did not desist according to the FBI, and he required constant supervision. Although there was a duty to defend, when I personally met with Farm Bureau Insurance, in an effort to obtain defense assistance, Farm Bureau advised in writing they would not defend my father in any civil litigation. This was problematic, as any legal consequence that befell my father would attach to his donations to the trust, donations that were under threat of revocatory action. In fact those assets today remain under threat of revocatory action as my father divested of his entire patrimony. Case precedent is clear in confirming there are no prescription deadlines to recover.
Although Ruby Bell testified this was a simple trust and their attorneys claimed the trust was not at peril, this simply is not correct. Three of the victims attorney, Kent Mercier, testified they were aware of the trust and knew to recover they would have to pursue the trust.
Was this REALLY a Simple Trust? You Be the Judge
After You View The Video Below
Days later, on the eve of multiple State and Federal indictments my father sought to follow the advice of counsel to divest all his assets. His criminal attorney advised the U.S. Attorney of his advice to my father – to divest, during subsequent meetings we had with authorities. I was present during that meeting when the U.S. attorney advised he ran all of my father’s financial records and knew of all his financial affairs and would not take issue with his divestiture. Their only requirement was the $40,000 forfeiture payment to the federal government, a result of my father having lied to agents.
The attorney hired to execute the divestiture (with the exception of the home and one acre that could not be donated to the family trust due to the forfeiture lien) advised that it would be quicker to execute a trust and later transfer the assets to a personal LLC, all a matter of record. The trust attorney advised in writing I would probably not be successful in saving my father’s assets. The record is replete with information showing that my father was estranged from his other children for more than two decades. Divesting all his estate and entire patrimony, he was very concerned his other children would attempt to remove him from his homestead, given the family embarrassment and the legal obstacles facing him. I, being the youngest, did not suffer the same physical cruelty. I had maintained a relationship with my father and had provided alimentary duties of care taking for a decade prior to his legal issues.
I was very concerned that whatever would befall my father would also befall the trust. I notified everyone oof the perilous circumstances. The oldest sibling of the family advised me not to even tryto save the assets.
The trust was executed in October of 1996, with my father donating all of his immovable assets to the trust, except the house and one acre, which were under lien forfeiture. He testified he knew he could not donate the house and one acre to the trust. After the lien forfeiture was paid by me to save my father’s home, I held a duly executed mortgage and promissory note that was properly notarized by his attorney and then recorded. His attorney testified I held a mortgage on the house with one acre.
I was appointed the trustee of the family trust. Standing alone, with absolutely no assistance from estranged siblings I began a journey, consisting of trying to avoid my father dying in prison, attempting to save his assets, managing his criminal nature and the family farming business. There was no rest for more than four years.
After that very important meeting with federal authorities, approximately three years ensued, wherein my father had to make many Court appearances and meet with federal prosecutors and FBI agents, including a federal sting operation that took place at my father’s farm, with my father and me as participants. We obtained recorded information from my father’s first attorney, Bill Lynch, during the set up meeting. According to law enforcement, just prior to the sting operation, attorney Lynch took it upon himself to persuade the prostitutes, who had been interrogated by the federal bureau of investigations, to appear on a local television station, hidden behind a screen, for the purpose of uprooting the federal investigation with false accusations that they had been treated harshly by the agents.
During the sting operation, FBI agents set up in a closet in my father’s home, and wired my father, who was to get Mr. Lynch to admit to his conspiracy against law enforcement. One can only imagine the continuing public embarrassment that lasted for three years during the height of this very public criminal investigation, as the case kept popping up in the media. We were having to show up at one courthouse after another for one hearing after another with the news cameras rolling all the while. Citizens of our small town of Kaplan were standing on street corners handing out printed notices of my father’s alleged criminal indiscretions.
One can only imagine too, the concern I had for the damage that would be done to my consultant opportunities if the media and public attached me in any way to these very serious and unpopular criminal issues. My siblings, having been estranged from my father, refused to take him to these events covered by the news media. One sibling stated that he hoped our father would spend the rest of his life in prison, another said that if she had the only water hose and his house was on fire, she wouldn’t turn the hose to put the fire out.
Several years after my father divested of his entire patrimony, which ended all his legal rights to his estate, he met with his criminal attorney in regards to an interdiction that he acquiesced to in trying to avoid the hardship; being in ill health, of having to testify as a defendant in civil litigation pursued against him in relation to his criminal actions. Notarized affidavits by the criminal attorney, another attorney acting on behalf of the trust, who were aware of the continuing misbehavior affecting the trust, and affidavits by an older sibling, and myself were submitted to the court. I, as trustee of the trust, agreed with the interdiction because of legal problems that were continuing on the trust property, brought about by father’s never-ending misconduct and violations of his felony parole. For example, he authorized a $5,000 blacktop road to be laid on his driveway. A driveway in the middle of farm rice country property. My attorney had to negotiate with the vendor and I only paid $500.00, but this is the kind of issue that continued, with him remaining in his home.
A hearing took place and the Court adjudicated him an interdict. Estranged children, years later entered into his life seeking personal financial gain, even though such personal actions placed him under the duress of facing additional imprisonment and penalties, had him sign a three-page list of assets that were to belong to him. Assets he reported years earlier to the federal government as having divested to avoid seizure. A part of their plan was to also seek to revoke his interdiction.
Had these individuals succeeded in any recovery clearly they did not intend any recoveries would benefit either my father or mother per Ruby Bell’s testimony, “Not a penny to my father or mother”.
It is important to note that my father was a well liked in the surrounding community, and almost considered a pillar in the community. No one noticed the abusive nature by which he imposed himself on the people nearest him. Beatings, kicking with steel-toed shoes that shattered eye sockets, being whipped with a bullwhip, breaking of a tailbone with the same steel-toed boot, throwing a daughter out of his house due to an unwed pregnancy. A fight in the middle of the night with one inebriated daughter as she was trying to stab him with a pair of scissors, then she loading a firearm to shoot him. His refusing to bring gravely ill children to receive badly needed medical treatment until in such dire straits an extended hospital stay was required to save a life. These circumstances were the root of the more than two decades of estrangement by his other children.
Many years prior to these criminal issues this family was so dysfunctional you would not go to Webster to define dysfunction but rather you would need to go all the way back to Sigmund Freud.
During the attempt to undo my father’s interdiction, given that a curatrix is held to very high standards in order to protect the interdict, my sibling’s self-seeking motives necessitated the hiring and preparation of counsel for trial at substantial legal cost. Given the displeasing nature of Wilfred Bell’s recent criminal history, we were advised that the Court did not want to hear the case. In accordance with the laws governing curatrix and undercuratrix the Court removed the undercuratrix, without cause, and replaced her with an estranged sibling. These individuals then, without any legal authority, fired my father’s long time medical specialist. A letter of stolen items was provided to the nursing home as a list. The record is replete with police reports oftheft of his clothing and disability equipment, threats to nursing home health care workers, resulting in the facility rejecting him from the facility. Within days of rejection, he was admitted into Our Lady of Lourdes hospital and died a horrific death without any of his long-term health care specialists to provide medical services to him.
You be the Judge – did a wrongful death occur? Were these estranged children self-seeking without any regard for the law or for my father’s well being or me the person who stepped forward to manage the mess? When asked, “who came to help you when you got into trouble”, my father replied, Susan. When asked; “Did anyone of your other children help you?” he answered no.
His criminal attorney testified he never saw any other of Wilfred’s children, I was the only one there for everything, no one else ever showed up for any hearing or any of the many other hardships endured. His attorney said he didn’t even have telephone numbers on the other children.
It is noteworthy that my mother has taken precautions in executing an extensive living will to avoid the same wrongful circumstances from happening to her or her health care needs.
After six years working entirely on a contingency basis as I did not know if I would be successful in saving any trust assets to pay my professional services, I sought the advice of counsel. On the advise of counsel the trust paid my six years of services.
Thereafter – very expensive litigation in haste prior to any investigation ensued. Because of this expensive litigation under the advise of counsel the trust was placed in bankruptcy in an effort to curtail and stop the litigation costs. The material facts confirms attorney Glenn Marcantel denied his clients an audit.
You be the judge Ruby Bell testified she thought that was why they filed suit to obtain an audit, she didn’t know we tried everything to present an audit. Were they misinformed? Was expensive litigation in haste filed? Did attorneys perhaps believe they would prosper personally from a lucrative trust? Was information withheld from their clients?
Do you agree that I was knowingly defamed that I did not provide an accounting when testimony that attorney Stan Gauthier requested the trust CPA Joan Martin to provide the accounting which was provided? Attorney for Sue Bell – Stan Gauthier testified we had boxes of records and tried to provide record after records.
My attorney and I tried for months to have Mr. Marcantel conduct an audit unsuccessfully until we offered to pay him for the audit meeting. Finally arrived – Glenn Marcantel wanted copies of thousands of pages. Gauthier advised L.S.A R.S. 9:2089 provided the right to inspect to subject matter of the trust. Sue Bell testified Marcnatel kept refusing to look at any records.
And apparently Mr. Marcantel filed expensive suit without informing his clients he denied them an audit as Ruby Bell testified, “the records were there”? I thought that is why we filed suit to get an accounting?
Ruby Bell testifying; “This was a minimal trust – that she should have been paid a minimal amount.“ Not all the heirs agreed, but the estranged siblings joined together in suit. Rather than believing it appropriate to pay for successful services they wanted no part of, these estranged siblings preferred paying for vengeful acts as supported by the record herein, by attorneys known to have a prior vendetta.
Attorney Paul Hood – then a leading Louisiana Trust expert, who himself has written trust law, testified at great length as to the peril of the Bell Family trust and the broad authority vested to Sue Bell in order to first save the family assets from peril.
I’m not sure what part of 72 state and federal indictments, threat of federal forfeiture, and the continuing threat of “new” victims as our unethical father did not see anything wrong with his actions, Ruby Bell or other certain siblings did not understand. Maybe because they were not there.
All the aforementioned was a definite predictor that circumstances would be anything but simple. They knew of my fathers criminal propensities.
I guess as they were entirely estranged and their lives did not miss a beat as they collected cash distributions due to my efforts, they were of the consensus if I was stupid enough to step forward suffering personal losses to clean up the mess; and try to do the right thing – then to bad for me!
In pro se capacity, during the last two years, in multiple memorandums I presented all the material facts (actual exhibits attached) now documented in the record confirming fraud upon the court, lies and deceit, unprofessional misconduct, negligence and malpractice. Not one sibling, or the trustee made any effort to correct any of the wrongful acts provided herein.