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FBI joins probe of NM trust fund company

This is the Inernet listing for an Angel Fire, N.M. home owned by Paul Donisthorpe and his wife, Liane Kerr. The home went on the market this spring while state financial regulators found what appeared to be serious and extensive irregularities in the handling of client trust accounts, including possibly unlawful transfers of funds to outside accounts. screen capture

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The FBI in New Mexico has joined the investigation into what new documents allege is a “scheme” by the CEO of the Desert State Life Management Company of Albuquerque to defraud clients, who include mentally and physically incapacitated people, out of millions of dollars set aside in trust accounts for their care.

The FBI is asking a federal judge in a civil petition filed today to forfeit two properties, including an Angel Fire “luxury lodge” that had recently been put up for sale by Paul Donisthorpe and his wife amid a state financial examination of the accounts and financial dealings of Desert State, a nonprofit trustee company Donisthorpe controls.

The northern New Mexico lodge’s sale price dropped another $174,000 over the weekend, from $899,000 to $725,000, according to Internet real estate listings.

An FBI special agent signed off on the forfeiture petition today, contending that a review of financial records showed nearly $49,800 in client trust funds was diverted from Desert State accounts and applied to the mortgage on the Angel Fire property.

Another $38,000 allegedly siphoned from client funds was applied to a mortgage on a North Fourth Street property that has been the business location for Desert State.

No criminal charges have been filed against Donisthorpe, who is a CPA and former investment banker.

Neither he nor his wife have returned requests for comment.

The FBI petition states the forfeiture of the two properties is warranted because they were purchased with proceeds of unlawful activities, such as wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.