Woman takes son's trust fund money

Katherine - posted on 02/15/2011 ( 18 moms have responded )

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New York City locals may have heard about 26-year-old Valley Cottage resident Tenisha Eurie, who has been accused of stealing thousands of dollars from her son's trust fund set up when he was 21-months-old. According to the New City Patch, Eurie allegedly transferred the money from the trust into her own personal bank account.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe said a trust fund was set up for the boy after he suffered critical injuries in a car accident in 2007. The child was riding his scooter when a car crashed into him, and the collision led to a civil settlement for $31,395. A court ordered that the money be kept in a trust fund that could not be touched until Eurie's son reached the age of 18.

Attorney Zugibe said Tenisha Eurie spent over half of the money that was reserved for her son by the time the bank realized the transaction to move the money from her son’s trust into her account was a mistake. She now faces charges for one count of third degree grand larceny and is expected to appear before the Town of Ramapo Town Court in March.

In a case like this, a parent or guardian is often chosen as the trustee of a minor’s trust fund. As the person designated to handle the financial matters involved in a trust, the parent or other person appointed is required to fulfill the duties of being a trustee, which can include:

* Managing the money for beneficiaries;
* Collecting assets;
* Filing periodic accountings; and
* Investing money.

A knowledgeable New York estate planning lawyer can further explain personal and legal consequences involved in failing to abide by one’s duties as a trustee and make sure the interests of the beneficiary are protected. For more general information on trusts, visit the Related Resources links below.

Related Resources:

* Call A New York Estate Planning Lawyer (FindLaw)
* Estate Planning: Trustees (FindLaw)
* Trusts: An Overview (FindLaw)
* Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing A Trustee (FindLaw’s New York Estate Planning News Blog)








Tenisha Eurie's son was struck and seriously injured by a car as a toddler while riding a scooter and he received a settlement for $31,000. Now, four years later, his mother has been charged with stealing from it. But is it really stealing when you are using the money on your toddler?

The Wall Street Journal story was short and details were sparse, but let's assume, for argument's sake, that Eurie used the money for food or school clothing or even rent. How is that stealing? According to the WSJ:

Prosecutors say Tenisha Eurie's son was seriously injured in the 2007 accident, when he was 21 months old. A $31,000 settlement from the accident was put into a trust fund, and a court ordered Eurie not to touch it until the boy reached 18.

Maybe she needed the money for him before then. It's possible, right?

Look, toddlers and young kids don't exactly earn their keep and they are expensive. If daddy lost his job and there was $31,000 sitting in an account that was marginally accessible, I could see using it and then paying it back.

This isn't to suggest that this is exactly what she did. Maybe she took the money and went out boozing and dancing and partying, but maybe she didn't. There are many possibilities for how she used that money, and I suppose if I were prosecuting the case, I would first want to know how she used it.

Also, it's confusing to me that the money was so easily accessible. Why was the mother even able to take money out if it belonged to the boy? There are many unanswered questions and certainly a short story with few details isn't going to answer them.

There are circumstances in which I could understand if she had taken the money, especially if she planned to return it. I am not sure it's "stealing" unless I know what she spent the money on.

So you think this was "stealing"?

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Iridescent - posted on 02/15/2011

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Absolutely. With a trust fund, it's quite clear when and who may use the money and you sign documents confirming your understanding of that fact. She knew. She used it anyway. She didn't put a petition in writing to request access to the trust fund for whatever reason (as should have been done and will be granted on a case by case basis). She instead stole it, from her own child. That's pathetic.

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18 Comments

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JuLeah - posted on 02/16/2011

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Don't know ... it was his, but maybe she spent it on him. Why have the kid starve til age 21, when she might take the money now and buy food. Maybe that money put a roof over his head?
I know a mother that did this ... not for food and rent, but for parties and toys ... she has not been charged and, I doubt, she ever will be

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/16/2011

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It is not her money...her kid had the accident...it is the kids money...yup...stealing.

Nikki - posted on 02/16/2011

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It's hard to comment without knowing what she spent the money on. It's a pretty crappy thing to do unless she is in extreme financial hardship and needed the money to support her son, but like others have said she should have gone through the correct court procedure to ensure it was all done legally.

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I can fully understand wanting/needing the money, but if a court order says 'don't touch' you don't touch unless you are willing to suffer the consequences.

Brandi - posted on 02/16/2011

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if she had proof the money was solely being spent on him, I don't see how this would be a problem. It is HIS money if she needed it for HIM I think it should be fine...

Sharon - posted on 02/16/2011

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Yes it was stealing.

If she needed the funds to keep a roof over her childs head then she should have petitioned the courts for some of the money.

Katherine - posted on 02/16/2011

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I think it was pretty crappy of her, but on the same token what if she was using it for him? The article doesn't say exactly WHAT she used it for.

Iridescent - posted on 02/16/2011

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It's free. It's just a petition, which takes a phone call and a signature.

Tracey - posted on 02/16/2011

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If she had gone to court to ask for rent or food money how long would the process take and would it cost? She may have needed money at that moment in time and although I don't like the idea of her taking the money there is no point losing your home through rent arrears when there are thousands in the bank.

Jackie - posted on 02/16/2011

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i missed that part of the article... "four years later"...
I dont care what she used the money for, the woman should be arrested.

Tara - posted on 02/16/2011

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@Jackie, it wasn't 16 years later.
It's stealing. If she had gone to the courts and asked for some to be released because she needed housing or food or clothing etc. that might be different but she didn't, she stole it, knowing she was breaking the law.

Jackie - posted on 02/16/2011

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I bet the $31k was what was left after all medical was paid for... I wish the article would have said how much was in the account 16 years later.
Now I dont think most 18-year olds understand how to spend money wisely so I wish there had been a stipulation that a percentage was to be used for school or held until the child was 21.

Stifler's - posted on 02/16/2011

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I can't understand why the settlement had to go in a trust until he was 18 instead of being used for medical costs and rehabilitation.

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I agree with Mandy. I know of someone who lives entirely off her sons payout. It sickens me that she does it and that her husband lives off her.
I'd love to see what she would do if the government said to her now that he is at school you could get a casual job. She'd spit chips and fight with his money so she didn't have to.
She isn't as blatent about how she lives though and doesn't take huge amounts like this woman did. She just over estimates how much something will cost for her son.

Mabel - posted on 02/15/2011

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I don't really know...I mean if the money was used for the kid or for suppoert for rent or food then I totally understand.In todays costs for everything it is hard trying to count pennies and get what you need for baby,but if she just took to have then she needs jail time and I think some assistance on how to budget to.As noted above ....more info needed on this one.

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