Press Release

Son Caught in Scheme to Defraud 83 Year-Old Mother Ordered to Pay $512,000 in Court Costs

March 6, 2013


A judge in the Middlesex Probate and Family Court has ordered Andrew Migell and his wife, Kai Sun Migell, to pay $512,680.08 in costs that his mother incurred to recover her own property and to defend against their attempts to impoverish her. In a 20-page, single-spaced decision, Judge Dorothy Gibson ruled that Andrew Migell and Kai Sun Migell “set out on a ruthless campaign to totally and utterly deprive his elderly, ailing and recently widowed mother of her entire estate.”

The decision came in a lawsuit filed by Alice Migell’s guardian, attorney Robert J. O’Regan of Burns & Levinson in Boston, to recover the costs and fees incurred to bring back into Mrs. Migell’s estate property that Judge Gibson’s decision rules Andrew and Kai Sun Migell worked to transfer away from Mrs. Migell immediately following the death of her husband, Bruce Migell. Alice Migell is now 83 years old, suffers from dementia, and is confined.

Judge Gibson’s decision traces Mrs. Migell’s mental decline, and points out attempts by Andrew Migell and his brother Keith Migell to isolate Mrs. Migell in order to gain control of her property following Bruce Migell’s death. Attorney O’Regan became guardian after an investigation by Springwell, Inc., an elder protective services agency, into allegations of exploitation and isolation. After his appointment, attorney O’Regan investigated a number of transfers of Mrs. Migell’s property, which the court held had been orchestrated by Andrew and Kai Sun Migell “in a continual, willful campaign of fraudulent, obstructionist behavior designed to separate Mrs. Migell from her assets which should have been available to cover the costs of her 24-hour care necessary for the preservation of her mental and physical well-being.”

The court’s decision notes the investigation by a Guardian-ad-Litem, Janice Salinger, which first uncovered the trail isolation and exploitation and details steps Andrew Migell took, even after attorney O’Regan was appointed as guardian, in order to block attorney O’Regan from reaching Mrs. Migell’s property to pay for her nursing home care. In one example, Andrew Migell took over Mrs. Migell’s duplex on Beacon Street in Newton in violation of court orders and then tried to rent it out. Judge Gibson’s decision lists five separate times when Andrew and Kai Sun Migell were found guilty of contempt, which resulted in sentences of jail time and community service.

The decision complements attorney O’Regan’s efforts, with the judge stating “few attorneys could have managed this case with the same dexterity, skill and ultimate success.” Judge Gibson noted that attorney O’Regan “remained miraculously undaunted” by Andrew and Kai Sun Migell’s “abhorrent tactics and, as a result, he has been able to protect Alice’s best interests and return to her much of the property that [they] originally took.”

Reacting to the decision, attorney O’Regan said, “This is one of the worst cases of elderly abuse I have seen in 30 years of practicing law. I am gratified by the result and the way this decision speaks for the rights of the elderly and infirmed to be protected against exploitation. Those who exploit the most vulnerable people in society must pay for the harm they cause. That is the best way to stop this kind of abuse. I am grateful for the opportunity Judge Gibson gave me to serve the court and Mrs. Migell, and to achieve recovery of these funds. Mrs. Migell is entitled to have all of her property available so she can live out the rest of her time with dignity and comfort.”

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