Executor’s Duty to Preserve Evidence

August 10, 2011

by: Luke Lantta

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against the Estate of J. David Salinas.  Salinas is accused of bilking clients – including a number of prominent college basketball coaches – out of millions of dollars through an alleged Ponzi scheme.  Salinas committed suicide in July just days after being interviewed by federal investigators and reportedly left an undated note in which he claimed to be “fully responsible” for the allegedly criminal transactions.  The SEC requested that a federal court in Houston freeze the assets of Salinas’ estate.  The court granted the SEC’s request.

The court also entered an order prohibiting the defendants in the case from destroying documents related to the questioned transactions.  The court’s order highlights a potential area of liability for the executor of the estate of someone accused of unlawful acts.

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