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2 Sentenced for Scam That Cost Charity $2.9 Million

October 26, 2000|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Two Orange County stockbrokers were sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison in a scam authorities said cost Guide Dogs for the Blind $2.9 million.

The San Rafael-based group never received assets bequeathed to it by a supporter, Leland Parker of Oakland, who died in 1994. Instead, Parker's investment advisors, William Clark II and Gibrahn Verdult, used the money for high living, federal prosecutors said.

The two were ordered to repay $2.9 million to the organization, prosecutors said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission accused the two of creating a fake will and putting the bequeathed assets under their control. Prosecutors said Verdult bought a $500,000 home and a $130,000 lot.

Clark, the records show, bought a $35,000 Corvette and hired a firm to invest the rest of the money.

In May, the two pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco to one count each of money laundering.

Parker hired them shortly before he died at 88 in 1994. Two years earlier, Parker had bequeathed his estate to Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Parker gave the two men stocks and bonds to help plan his estate, but they sold them a few days before his death.

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