Brooke Astor's Son Sentenced

Anthony Marshall sentenced to one to three years for stealing millions from his mother in her dotage

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The ugly case of Anthony Marshall, convicted of "siphoning millions from his mother" Brooke Astor--heiress and legendary New York socialite--is drawing to a close. Mr. Marshall was sentenced Monday to one to three years in prison for stealing from Astor as he cared for her in her old age. Here's what journalists and attorneys think of the outcome:

  • Melancholy All Around Providing end-of-case analysis, The New York Times' James Barron says the testimony of witnesses called to "flesh out prosecutors' claims" regarding Mr. Marshall "perhaps without meaning to ... also described the dark complement to Mrs. Astor's glittering social life, her deterioration as she passed 90 and then 100." Barron writes that "if Mr. Marshall has a good record in prison, he is likely to serve roughly eight months behind bars."
  • Short Sentence "We wondered," writes The Business Insider's Erin Geiger Smith, "whether a judge would take Marshall's age into account and hand down a light sentence. He was given the lightest sentence possible."
  • The Moral: Don't Get Greedy "Not even the rich and powerful can get away with elder abuse," declares attorney Chris Johnson. His take on the case is that Marshall "couldn't say no to his wife, who unfortunately was not prosecuted. He was set to receive a large inheritance anyway, and was receiving money from his mother also, so if he (or his wife) could have been content with what they had, he would not be facing this."
  • The Moral: Also--Don't Be Stupid About It At The Huffington Post, Ralph Gardner Jr. argues that this "is a textbook case in how not to defraud your incredibly rich, famous and beloved mother's estate if you don't want to get caught. But lesson #1--perhaps exceeded only by not marrying someone of whom your purse strings-controlling mom disapproves--is to do everything in your power to avoid alienating the help, at which the thrifty Marshalls showed singular skill." Mrs. Astor's butler, Christopher Ely, was crucial in the case against Mr. Marshall, and had "encouraged the maids to keep notes about all those meetings where the demented Mrs. Astor was hustled into her library to sign codicils to her will that gave away more and more of her assets to [Mr. Marshall and his wife] at the expense of such charities as the Metropolitan Museum and the New York Public Library."
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