Bestselling crime writer Patricia Cornwell, known for the medical examiner heroine “Kay Scarpetta” fictional series, was recently awarded last month $50.9 million dollars due to mismanagement of her funds. She discussed how millions of dollars were missing from her earnings on Katie Couric’s ABC’s talk show “Katie.” The program was entitled “Crime Writer Turned Crime Victim: Patricia Cornwell Fights To Get Her Millions Back.”
Couric asked Cornwell how she first discovered her money was missing. Cornwell had hired New York based firm Anchin, Block & Anchin to handle her finances. She had principal manager Evan Snapper operate her accounts, but found out that Snapper took advantage of her and started bilking her funds.
She decided to use her crime problem skills when the FBI began investigating her and asking about campaign contributions. Cornwell had no idea what was going on but later found out Snapper did not tell her about his actions (among and with others) that were illegal.
During the conversation Cornwell discussed her background – how she grew up in a town of 200 people, that Billy Graham (who she regards as a friend) lived in the same neighborhood, how her relationship with her father was not good, and health issues that loomed over her; which led up to handing finances over to third parties, despite being manipulated while being paid enormous sums of money.
Cornwell talked about her love for forensic science and first became a crime reporter at the beginning of her career. That led to becoming a medical examiner in a morgue. She was curious as to what happened to bodies when death arrived.
Her first novel “Post Mortem” (1990) was a slow sell at first but later picked up – which changed her life forever.
Cornwell’s lawyer, Juan A. Lukey, spoke via satellite and despite the civil suit won, no criminal charges were brought forth. This was due to the fact they could not trace or track where Cornwell’s money went. Cornwell’s wife, Staci Gruber, a Harvard neuroscientist, was in the audience.
Cornwell believed her forensic acumen clearly was part in winning the case. She stated that the word autopsy (Greek) means “see for yourself.” Cornwell applied that phrase to find out what happened to her investments.
The Washington Post’s Reliable Source on Feb. 20 gave these details on the Cornwell suit –
The best-selling crime novelist claimed Anchin, Block & Anchin secretly overbilled her while plunging her money into risky investments; the accounting firm, meanwhile, blamed the losses on her own lavish lifestyle, and the seven-week trial was an exotic primer in Rich People’s Problems: Excess taxes on her helicopter, missing money from a Ferrari sale, a $40,000/month NYC crash pad. Cornwell, 56, testified she was so upset she missed the deadline for her next bestseller.
In spite of Cornwell’s lavish lifestyle, she believes she does not waste money. Couric asked what advice she would give to those in the same situation in which she responded, ”Don’t trust blindly.” Cornwell told the audience she wanted to tell her story to alert others. She realized that many people may not be as rich as she, but she did this as a warning to help others. A Boston (MA.) jury awarded Cornwell on Feb. 19. The legal process is still going on but Cornwell plans to give through philanthropy.
Patricia Cornwell has sold over 100 million copies of her novels. She is the most successful woman writer after J.K. Rowling (British author of the Harry Potter series). Cornwell has also written a children’s book and two other crime series. The last book she released was in October 2012 under the Kay Scarpetta series called “The Bone Bed,” the series 20th novel.