If you’ve ever seen an advertisement for free lunch seminars on living trusts, or for the astoundingly low cost to set one up, you may be thinking it’s too good to be true. Well, you’re right. It’s probably a lure for a living trust mill.
It has long been known that the key to a good con is hiding in plain sight. Thus it should come as no surprise that when looking for those who scam the elderly, overturning just a few stones can lead to some unpleasant revelations. Elder abuse is a rampant problem, affecting millions every year and cascading into financial, social, mental and physical trauma for all involved. Consequently, those who professionally swindle the elderly reserve an especially low place in the public’s esteem. So how is it that the Noe “crime family” has had such enduring success with their machinations?
The undertakings of these individuals have been extensively chronicled, by nursing home advocates and professional journalists, and it seems that for the Noes, fraud is a family business. Beginning in the 1960s and 70s, Paul Noe Sr. allegedly carried out a series of cons ranging from defrauding banks and their customers to impersonating a venture capitalist. Finally caught a decade or so ago, Noe Sr. has been described by the FBI as being “among the most notorious con men in U.S. history.” Their brand of investment schemes may be living on in the eerily similar Living Trust empire run by his son, Paul Noe Jr.
A primary tool of Noe the Elder was a business entity called the Great American Trust, which he used to swindle business out of fees in exchange for venture capital that never materialized. When the FBI caught up with him, claiming that the Trust was a hollow shell without capital, Noe Jr.’s trust mills were listed as sources of funding, effectively propping up the charade with funds gathered from elderly victims of the alleged swindle.
Both generations have been the target of innumerable suits, including by Jerry Brown and the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, but they have emerged remarkable unscathed considering the depth and breadth of the accusations. They have used many names, recruited many allies, and continue to operate under a bewildering array of Businesses, affiliated, DBAs, holding companies, and other subterfuge. Among their past names and associates are Estate Preservation, Inc., Estate Planning of California, and the American Association of Independent Paralegals. If you think that you or a loved one has been the victim of an improperly administered living trust or other fraudulent financial product, contact the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669. The Evans Law Firm is a plaintiffs’ firm concentrating on elder abuse (physical and financial), consumer fraud class actions involving particularly insurance and banking claims and, consumer product liability