Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a full phone consultation or video conference is appropriate for your situation.

Experienced. Thorough.

Focused on Results.

Super-wealthy hiding assets from spouses using LLCs and trusts

The divorce of billionaire Texas couple Ed and Marie Bosarge made national headlines recently. This is common for the superrich when they divorce, but Ed Bosarge seems intent on leaving his wife of 30 years with comparatively little by legally hiding assets. Ed founded the high-volume stock trading company Quantlab Financial in 1998 (eight years after the couple was married) and became one of the wealthiest businessmen in Texas while buying 12 luxury properties around the world, including a private island in the Bahamas. After living alone at the couple’s mansion in Houston for four years, Marie was served divorce papers in 2017 that essentially evicted her from a home the couple bought together. Ed, on the other hand, continues to enjoy the use of their homes and access to assets.

Despite an estimated worth put at $2 billion by Marie’s attorneys, the couple officially claims that their assets are about $12 million. Ed has funneled the rest of the money and business interests into a series of limited liability companies and tax-free trusts. The trusts are based in South Dakota, a trust haven that enables the person who controls the trust to remain anonymous or to make changes in the trusts without notifying beneficiaries. Financial experts believe that Ed Bosarge moved the assets into these trusts and shell corporations over the last several years.

A landmark case decided in court

The current pandemic has stalled the case. Nevertheless, the judge seems impatient with the husband and has made statements that Ed appears to breach his fiduciary obligation by hiding his wealth. However, South Dakota abolished its Rule Against Perpetuities, which essentially allows the trust established there to last forever. There is yet to be a ruling anywhere that enables access to the assets in a South Dakota trust. So even if Marie wins her case in court, Ed may still keep control of the assets regardless of the ruling. More to come as this case unfolds.