A Hemet attorney accused of fraudulently altering a senior’s trust account to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars after her death was behind bars Friday.
Trent Wayne Thompson, 44, was arrested Wednesday following a Riverside County District Attorney’s Office investigation that also snared another attorney, Quinton Ray Swanson, who allegedly conspired to aid his co-defendant and business partner.
Thompson is charged with grand theft, identity theft, forgery, perjury and money laundering, with sentence-enhancing white collar crime allegations. He was being held on $321,000 bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside and slated to make his initial court appearance Friday.
Swanson is charged with identity theft, forgery, perjury and being an accessory to a felony. He’s free on a $10,000 bond.
According to the DA’s office, Thompson established a living trust for a 95-year-old woman, whose identity was not disclosed, in May 2019. The trust specified that the defendant, designated the “trust protector,” had no beneficiary interest in the event of the victim’s death, prosecutors said.
The woman directed that 100% of her estate go to a children’s hospital after her passing, according to investigators. She died in November 2019, and the DA’s office said that the next month, Thompson allegedly renamed himself trustee in whole, giving himself full authority over the proceeds.
Swanson allegedly notarized the document.
“As is required by law, Thompson notified the woman’s disinherited relatives of the terms of the trust, but he failed to notify the hospital regarding its interest as the beneficiary of the trust,” the DA’s office stated.
The defendant abruptly withdrew $320,500 from the trust and transferred the funds to accounts in his name, prosecutors allege.
He purchased a Ford Fusion and airline tickets soon afterward, according to the prosecution.
The woman’s relatives learned that none of the money had been turned over to the hospital and filed a lawsuit against Thompson in county Probate Court. Prosecutors allege that the defendant then submitted a document indicating there had been an amendment to the trusts, providing that the hospital only receive 50% of the estate.
“The amended trust was notarized by Swanson,” according to the agency statement. “Thompson also filed an affidavit signed by Swanson stating that he had visited the woman in a care facility eight days before her death, and she had signed the amended trust.”
However, an investigation at the facility revealed that the victim had not received any visitors around the time that the attorney stated, according to the DA’s office.
The civil suit culminated in the criminal investigation handled by the DA’s Financial Crimes Unit.