July 18, 2009 – William Parente, 58, attorney, financier and arguably the perpetrator of an investment fraud and grand ponzi scheme, allegedly died on April 20, 2009 in a Towson, Maryland hotel room from self-inflicted knife wounds. According to Baltimore County investigating authorities, prior to taking his own life, he brutally murdered his wife, 58, and two daughters, age 11 and 19, in an apparent murder/suicide.
However, there is a group of Parente clients, investors and acquaintances, who knew both the man and his family, and who believe it is out of the question that he could have carried out this gruesome act. Rather, they are convinced that Parente also was murdered, that the suicide was staged as a cover up, and that his death and the death of his family was perpetrated when Parente could not repay debts owed to an investor or investors who had entrusted him with their cash.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is presently investigating Mr. Parente’s financial dealings, having seized records from his Lexington Avenue, New York law office. They refuse to comment on the status of the investigation, except to state that it is ongoing. One apparent problem is that those records, which were seized remain off limits to investigators until the issue of attorney/client privilege has been resolved.
However, one big step may be the recent filing of a probate petition for Parente’s estate in the Nassau County Surrogate Court by a Public Administrator. Such appointments are necessary when no family member has voluntarily assumed the duty of probating the estate of a deceased relative, which appears to be the case here.
It appears that there will be no lack of creditors, making claims against the estate. According to published and unpublished reports, Parente was a financier, who borrowed private money from investors in exchange for unsecured promissory notes, offering very attractive interest rates. He claimed to be financing bridge loans on real estate and other business ventures, also at high interest rates, which he signed personally.
Parente was both an attorney and an accountant, and many of his investors were also clients, friends and recommended friends of friends. There appear to be at least 20 to 30 such investors who collectively invested sums in excess of $25 million, though some believe the total sum invested is far greater.