Brooke Astor's son pleaded not guilty to charges of looting his mother's $198 million estate in a Manhattan court Tuesday afternoon.
Anthony Marshall, 83, was arraigned on multiple charges including, grand larceny, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. He was released on $100,000 bail.
An 18-count indictment was unsealed Tuesday morning charging Marshall and his former attorney Francis Morrissey with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, scheme to defraud, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing and conspiracy.
Prosecutors say Morrissey is out of town. He is expected to turn himself in and be charged later this week.
The Manhattan district attorney says Marshall, Astor's only son, took advantage of his mother's Alzheimer's disease by telling her to sell property because she was running out of money.
"Marshall and Morrissey took advantage of Mrs. Astor's diminished mental capacity in a scheme to defraud her and others out of millions of dollars," said Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
The indictment says Marshall convinced his mother to sell one of her favorite paintings and pocketed $2 million as commission for the $10 million sale. He also boosted his salary, retroactively, from $450,000 to $1.4 million a year. Furthermore, he used her money to pay the salary of the captain of his 55-foot yacht and a secretary at his theater production company.
Marshall and Morrissey are also charged with pushing Astor to amend her will so Marshall could get $60 million of her estate that would have gone to charity. Morrissey is accused of forging Astor's signature on one of those amendments.
"The indictment charges that the conspiracy with respect to the second codicil would have resulted in millions of dollars of his gain because he would've cut the residual estate outright which amounted to about $60 million,” said Assistant District Attorney Daniel Castleman.
“As the financial advisor — power of attorney — he was supposed to always act in her interest, and when it was clear that he was not acting in her interest, that's when the crime occurred,” said Morgenthau.
A Manhattan grand jury began hearing evidence against the two last September after Marshall's son accused his father of neglecting Astor's care and stealing from her estate.
Astor died in August at the age of 105.
Attorneys for Marshall issued a written statement on his behalf, saying "Tony Marshall faithfully and effectively managed his mother's affairs for more then 25 years, increasing the value of her investments from $19 million to $82 million. Brooke Astor loved Tony, her only child, and whatever he received was in accordance with her wishes. Just as the original claims of Îelder abuse’ were found to have no basis, we're confident that once all the facts are known, Mr. Marshall will be exonerated.”
Marshall will be back in court on January 30th.