A woman tried to hide $750,000 (600,000 pounds) from her husband that she recently inherited. She gave the money to a male friend so it wouldn’t be in joint accounts with her husband. The male friend fled the country with the money.
47-year-old Sarah Byrne inherited more than $1 million dollars from her father’s business.
Her and her husband were having problems in the marriage, and she was anxious to hide the money because she was planning a divorce and didn’t want him to receive half of the money.
She asked one of her friends, 58-year-old Stephen Howie, if he could help, and he kindly accepted telling her she could transfer the money to him. Howie works as a Builder and Designer.
She transferred $750,000 to him in January 2017, and the rest of the money to her sister.
But everything took a turn when Byrne and her husband went on a family vacation the next month and “Fell in love again”. Byrne then asked Howie to return the money, and Howie told her the money she gave was an investment.
Byrne took the case to court this month, July 2019, and a court has ruled that Howie is lying about his claims that it was a “Business investment”, and ordered him to pay Byrne back. But Howie fled the country immediately, and is currently in Japan refusing to cooperate, and allegedly spending the money,
Despite the ruling, the court has ruled that Byrnes was “Dishonest” for trying to hide the money in the first place.
London High Court judge Simon Monty QC said in his judgment:
‘Mr Howie said he had been through two divorces, and advised [Mrs Byrne] she needed to place her assets out of reach of her husband, because he would get half. Mrs Byrne says that she was anxious, depressed, isolated and sleep-deprived, and the advice Mr Howie gave her increased her feelings of anxiety. She feared she would be left with nothing after the divorce.’
When the transfer was first made, Howie stated that it would be best to make it look like a real business operation, so they drew up legitimate business papers and conducted the business as an investment, which Howie then used as “evidence” in court.
The judge ruled that although trying to hide the money was a “Sham”, Howie benefiting from it would be wrong, “Especially since the divorce didn’t happen”, and she informed her husband about the money on the vacation.
Howie is currently in Japan and cannot be contacted. Court papers state that he emailed the courts:
He emailed to say he was living in Japan, had recently had surgery, was unwell, and would not be attending’.