|By Dave Harmon, Austin American-Statesman|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
And that has his creditors -- nearly 90 of them so far -- more optimistic that they'll get at least some of their money back, even though what happened to the money remains a mystery.
At less than
Records filed in
The amount investors claim they gave Powell -- who ran the Austin office of
Documents filed by Powell's estate claim he paid back more than
In their court filings, the investors claim that Powell, a 53-year-old father of three, lured them with the promise of healthy returns on investments that never happened. Many of them were friends, neighbors, golf buddies and business associates who had known Powell for years.
Investors haven't received any payments yet, but between Powell's life insurance money and other assets -- including the family's
Life insurance policies typically include suicide clauses -- insurance companies don't have to pay a death benefit if the insured person commits suicide within two years. Powell had seven different policies, according to court records, and he used at least one of them as collateral for one of his loans -- a
"I understand that
Washburne, who was tapped as the
Attorneys representing Powell's widow didn't return calls seeking comment.
There's another potential obstacle looming for the investors: the
"If (Powell) took
It could be months before lawyers and tax experts sort out the tangled financial web that Powell left behind. Meanwhile, claims from prominent businesspeople and wealthy Texans continue to stack up in an already thick court file:
--Former U.S. Adm.
Messages left for Toomey, Maxwell and Street seeking comment weren't returned.
In many cases, Powell offered people a chance to join him in what he pitched as a short-term, high-payoff investment to buy shares of
Powell told investors the company was likely to be sold in the near future and that he would contribute the larger share of the investment money, while promising that investors' money would be secured by millions of dollars' worth of
In a letter to Inman dated
"I have a high degree of confidence in the ultimate outcome and I am excited that you might participate," Powell wrote.
Inman, a venture capitalist who was a neighbor of Powell's, said that Powell pitched the deal "as a personal favor to him. It happened to be a time when I had some money available, and I was looking for something to do with it."
Powell agreed to pay back Inman on
Powell's body was found the next day in
Inman said he wasn't alarmed at losing his investment and that he hopes Powell's wife and children are taken care of before the investors get paid.
"That's the nature of the business, you're fortunate if one in three (deals) are successful," he said. "I guess my only modest regret is that I think I'm a pretty good judge of people. ... It's always disappointing when you miss a character flaw."
"It's remarkable how little work Powell had to do to get this money," Spindler said. "(Investors) would have been able to find out that something fishy was going on if they had wanted to."
(c)2014 Austin American-Statesman, Texas
Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at www.statesman.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services