The Moneyologist: This wife took swift action to close an account her husband used to hide money

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Last week, “Bamboozled and Bewildered Wife,” wrote to The Moneyologist about some dastardly financial dealings undertaken by her husband on behalf of her brother-in-law. Here’s a short recap: Her brother-in-law wanted to hide money in a stock trading account ahead of his divorce and her husband agreed to help him. Her husband deposited the money in an account in his wife’s name.

“Over my strenuous objections, the money was transferred from abroad and his brother’s five-figure portion was placed in a trading account and the brother began trading it,” she wrote in her original letter. (You can read her original letter here.)

The irony: The money was an inheritance and would not have been considered community property. But now they also need to move the money in order to qualify for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. One unethical move by her husband has led to serious legal and financial implications. What’s more, she could be embroiled in this financial mismanagement if her name is on the account.

Here’s an update:

“On Saturday, I saw that my story was published,” she told me in an update this week. “I also joined the Facebook Group so I could read all comments. It was quite disheartening, to see the flaws in one’s marriage laid out in black and white and discussed by strangers.”

“At 8 a.m. when the trading bank’s office opened, I called to see if there was an account in my name, and hearing there was, went in and liquated all positions. I thought it was only in my husband’s name. It was an old trading account we had opened 10 years ago, and had almost no funds in it.”

“I am having the funds wired to our joint checking account. It was all penny stocks his brother purchased when the money was first transferred and it lost a lot of value. His brother just kept it there, in stocks, so there were no taxes to report.”

“They told me that since it was all penny stocks, it would be hard to sell, since the daily volume is not high on those, but I discovered that, if you really want to, you can price to sell within 15 minutes. Thank you so much for your advice. I knew what I should have done months ago. You gave me the strength to actually act on my convictions.”

The takeaway:

Even if no harm is ultimately done, she must now grapple with the knowledge that her husband involved her directly in his shady dealings. And yet he still doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.

“We talked and yelled,” she told MarketWatch. “He still doesn’t see that he did anything wrong because he was helping his brother, who is still married. They both firmly believe his brother’s wife is having an affair and skimming money, but have never collected actual evidence. But that’s not my/our problem, as you and I both have said.”

“As I said, it was very sobering to see the flaws in my marriage laid bare, but I also made me realize I love my husband despite this and want to save our marriage, although we both need to rebuild our trust. He is furious because I did not tell him ahead of time I was going to call the brokerage or sell it. Hopefully, we can work through this and communicate more.”