Family loses out on millions in money laundering scheme
Nov 20, 2021, 12:23 AM | Updated: 12:24 am
SALT LAKE CITY — The family of one of the victims in a money laundering scheme shared their frustrations Friday, days after a former Salt Lake attorney pleaded guilty to embezzling millions of dollars from several clients.
The family of Glenn McConkey says she has Alzheimer’s and that the last few years have been difficult enough watching her health decline.
What’s made it worse is realizing the attorney entrusted with Glenn’s trust account took advantage of her to gain access to her money and cut off her family.
“It’s been a very frustrating few years of dealing with somebody who has just pushed us out and refused to give us any information,” said Sherry McConkey, Glenn’s daughter-in-law. “It’s not as if we were evil people coming to get something. We were family.”
Glenn’s will included giving 75% of her money to charities and 25% to her granddaughter, Sherry’s daughter Ayla and Glenn’s sole surviving blood relative.
The McConkey family says attorney Calvin Curtis manipulated Glenn to change her will, appointing himself as trustee of the McConkey estate. Sherry says Curtis then stole more than $13 million from the estate – jeopardizing Glenn’s stay at a memory care facility where she requires 24/7 care.
“There’s no way I thought he would do that to a woman with Alzheimer’s,” Sherry said. “All I care about at this point is for Glenn to be taken care of and see the rest of her life comfortably in the home that she’s in.”
Earlier this week, Curtis pleaded guilty to embezzling at least $9.5 million from 24 trust accounts. He admitted using their money for things like making mortgage payments on his Salt Lake City home and office, supporting a lavish lifestyle with frequent travel and buying tickets to basketball and football games.
“I’ve been reading about it and it’s disgusting. It’s despicable what this man has done,” she said.
Asked about what she would like to say to Curtis, Sherry responded, “Pay back everybody. Pay back all these people that have been affected. All their money. And apologize to them for causing their stress.”
According to a press release, announcing the guilty plea, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to recommend a sentence of 73 months in federal prison during Curtis’s sentencing which is scheduled for March 15, 2022.
Sherry said she couldn’t believe he would only get that amount of time.
“It’s not fair,” she said. “They need to get their money back.”
Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez said in the announcement, “Defrauding vulnerable and elderly adults is a reprehensible and greedy act that is deserving of federal prison time.”
“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting and holding those accountable who defraud elderly and vulnerable clients,” she said. “Our concern is with the victims of these crimes and their ability to obtain basic needs moving forward.”
Special Agent Dennis Rice of the Salt Lake City FBI office said, “Calvin Curtis’ greed had devastating consequences for his clients, who placed their trust and money in his hands.”
He added, “Sadly, financial fraud cases like this are not limited to a few victims. We hope this case sends a strong message that the FBI will do what it takes to make sure such crimes don’t go unpunished.”