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2 YEARS

Crime Novelist Patricia Cornwell Wins $50.9 Million Verdict Against Accountants

After finding out her net worth wasn't as much as she thought, the author said the culprit was her former financial management company.

Two Book Giants Become One
Patricia Cornwell

Crime doesn't pay. On the other hand, crime novelist? Hmm...

Patricia Cornwell, author of the popular series of books featuring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, has scored $50.9 million at a federal trial in Boston against her former financial management company Anchin, Block & Anchin.

Cornwell, who also once appeared as herself in the CBS series Criminal Minds, alleged in her lawsuit that in July, 2009, she demanded information about her net worth. She was shocked to learn that making eight figure earnings each year, he net worth was the equivalent of one year's net income.

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She blamed Anchin, Block & Anchin -- a CPA firm whose principal Evan Snapper had once told her that it would "do everything for its clients including buying and delivering their toilet paper."

In the lawsuit, Cornwell accused the firm of doing much more, including mismanaging money on real estate, vehicles and a helicopter. Additionally, she said that tax returns were filed in a way that triggered audits and campaign contributions made in a way that caused the FBI to investigate.

According to various reports of the litigation, the management firm in turn blamed her lavish lifestyle including a $40,000-a-month Trump Tower apartment.

But the jury ended up believing the writer.

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“I think at the end of the day we came to fair decision," said jury foreman John Martus to the Boston Globe. "And hopefully Anchin learns from this. If you are performing on someone else’s behalf, you have a responsibility towards them.”

Snapper said he was disappointed.

Reacting on Twitter, Cornwell writes, "The jury has spoken. In our favor....Loudly in our favor...Justice!...I wish I could hug the jury!"

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner