Banking & Finance, Human Resources, and Law

Man bilks heiress out of $16M

March 7, 2016
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A prominent philanthropist and matriarch of one of West Michigan’s wealthiest families was bilked out of more than $16 million over the course of more than a decade.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles Jr. announced last week that Robert Allen Haveman, a resident of Ottawa County, was charged with two felonies in connection with a scheme to defraud the Elsa D. Prince Living Trust between 1999 and 2015.

Haveman has signed a plea agreement in which he waived his right to indictment by a grand jury and agreed to enter guilty pleas to wire fraud and money laundering.

Elsa D. Prince-Broekhuizen was the wife of the late Edgar Prince, founder of Prince Automotive and co-founder of the Family Research Council, and she is the mother of Betsy DeVos, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, and Erik Prince, founder of the security firm Blackwater.

The felony charges filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids allege that Haveman, while employed by EDP Management Company in Holland, “devised a scheme to defraud to obtain money” belonging to Prince-Broekhuizen and the Elsa D. Prince Living Trust, or Prince Trust.

As part of his fraud scheme, it is alleged that Haveman, who primarily managed private equity investments for EDP, transferred money belonging to Prince-Broekhuizen and the Prince Trust to his personal bank account and other bank accounts for his personal use and investment activities.

Haveman allegedly caused false entries to be made in the books and records of EDP to disguise his theft of money and made material misrepresentations to and concealed material facts from Prince-Broekhuizen and others.

Haveman is also charged with money laundering in connection with the purchase of vacant land with Lake Michigan frontage in Ottawa County.

Haveman faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the fraud charge and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for money laundering.

The court will determine the sentence after considering the federal sentencing guidelines and statutory sentencing factors.

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