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Suit: Financial fraud discovered during divorce proceedings

Sometimes divorce proceedings can bring to light financial secrets and wrongdoing that a spouse wasn't aware of during the marriage. A year after filing for divorce from her husband Robert Morton, who once produced "Late Night with David Letterman," his wife is suing him and their business manager for fraud that she says she learned about during the discovery process

Morton's estranged wife, Jennifer Rush, is successful in her own right. She owns the Blue Plate Restaurant Group, with eateries in Los Angeles. In fact, Morton, who now works in real estate, is reportedly asking for more than $10,000 in monthly spousal support from his wife.

Rush's lawsuit, however, involves the deposit of millions of dollars in assets she says were hers into a joint account by a New York certified public accountant for about 14 years. She claims that some of her money was deposited into accounts in Morton's name that she didn't even know about. Rush's attorney says they found "hundreds of transfers between the community and each of Morton's separate accounts with no rhyme or reason."

According to the lawsuit, the CPA's transactions "allowed for an extreme imbalance in the amount of separate assets and income funds expended" on shared assets and expenses. That imbalance, the suit says, had her unknowingly contributing nearly all of her earnings to pay family expenses and maintain their lifestyle, while he contributed under 40 percent of his income.

Rush is asking for punitive and general damages of at least $4 million. She has over a dozen claims against her estranged husband and the CPA, who acted as their business manager. These include fraud, conspiracy to breach fiduciary duty and negligence.

In high asset divorces, family law attorneys sometimes recommend that their clients hire forensic accountants to help find assets about which they may be unaware. Even if you don't suspect your spouse of being less than truthful in this area, it may be worth doing that just to be certain that you know precisely what assets you have to divide.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "Former Letterman Producer and His Business Manager Sued for Fraud," Ashley Cullins, July 22, 2016

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