Millionaire Adopts His 42-Year-Old Girlfriend
Money can make people do strange things. Some will marry for money, kill for money-- or adopt their own adult girlfriend as their daughter. 48 year-old Florida polo tycoon, John Goodman, adopted his longtime girlfriend, Heather Laruso Hutchins, 42, back in October. It's believed he's trying to protect his financial assets from a civil suit stemming from drunk driving incident that killed another man.
According to ABC News, in February of 2010, Goodman ran a stop sign and slammed into another car, killing the 23-year-old driver, Patrick Wilson. Goodman made no attempt to call police or an ambulance, and left the accident scene on foot. Police say his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.
In a trial set to begin in March, Goodman faces criminal charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison. The Wilson family is also suing Goodman for wrongful death in a civil suit.
Which brings us to Goodman adopting his girlfriend--
The court had ruled that assets belonging to Goodman's children could not be considered when awarding damages in the civil suit. By making his girlfriend his daughter, she becomes a beneficiary of the trust.
West Palm Beach Judge, Glenn Kelley, who is presiding over the wrongful death suit wrote in a court order:
"The events which serve as the grounds for the relief sought by the Plaintiffs border on the surreal and take the Court into a legal twilight zone... The Defendant has effectively diverted a significant portion of the assets of the children's trust to a person with whom he is intimately involved at a time when his personal assets are largely at risk in this case."
Judge Kelly also wrote that a probate court with jurisdiction over the trust will determine whether the adoption is a "sham".