Woman Steals $400,000 from Estate of Civil Rights Hero

Sep 23, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
A judge sentenced a South Carolina woman to 10 years in prison for stealing money from the estate of a civil rights activist.

In a case demonstrating how important it is to compose a last will and testament and appoint a trusted executor, Dayatra Baker-White of Greenville, South Carolina, recently pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the estate of late civil rights activist Dr. William Bagwell.

Following Bagwell's death in 2006, Baker-White, his trustee, did not create an account to assist minority women per the instructions in Bagwell's last will and testament. Instead, she withdrew money from his accounts for her personal use, Fox News Carolina reported.

Since she was arrested, it has emerged that Baker-White reduced Bagwell's estate from $430,663 to $14 by transferring money to her own accounts, giving money to family and paying personal bills. Police investigators determined the 64-year-old Baker-White had no other significant source of income, according to Fox.

A judge sentenced Baker-White to 10 years in prison - to be suspended after seven years served - followed by five years probation, the source reported.