Forensic accountant named to tally Vegas shooter’s assets
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A veteran forensic financial consultant was appointed Thursday to tally the assets left by the man who killed himself after unleashing the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history on the Las Vegas Strip.
Certified public accountant Larry Bertsch was instructed by Clark County District Court Judge Gloria Sturman to examine Stephen Paddock’s estate and issue a report by May 31.
The judge scheduled a public hearing on the findings for June 28.
“I see my job as making an inventory,” Bertsch said. Attorney Alice Denton, who represents Bertsch and the Paddock estate, said the assets may amount to between $1 million and $5 million.
No will has been found for Paddock, which means his assets would go to his mother. But the judge noted she waived her interest in the estate, and Denton said Paddock’s brother, Eric Paddock, who has power-of-attorney for his mother, wants the assets distributed to victims.
Eric Paddock, who lives in Florida, declined by telephone to speak to The Associated Press.
Paddock has said he believed his brother, a 64-year-old former IRS agent, accountant and real estate investor, made millions of dollars before becoming a professional gambler. Authorities said his game of choice was high-stakes video poker.
Police reported finding just $273 in cash in the 32nd-floor hotel suite where Paddock was found dead Oct. 1 of a self-inflicted gunshot after raining gunfire with an arsenal of assault-style weapons into an open-air concert crowd. Fifty-eight people died and authorities said more than 800 were injured.
Bertsch, in more than five decades as a public and private accountant, has been a chief financial officer for casinos and handled receiverships. He was appointed as a federal bankruptcy trustee in 1991. Sturman limited his role in the Paddock case to researching the assets.
“To be specifically clear, Mr. Bertsch is not going to be sending out notice to creditors,” the judge said. “He is not going to initiate any kind of proceedings in this probate process other than he will inventory the assets for the court.”
Denton said she was working to settle legal claims with people who have filed lawsuits against Paddock’s estate. She called an accounting the first step in that process, said she was also working with Paddock’s brother, and told reporters later that she hoped money would go to victims instead of lawyers.
Samuel Warren, a lawyer representing the family of one of the shooting victims, John Phippen of Santa Clarita, California, told the judge he was satisfied with the appointment of Bertsch as special administrator with a limited role.
Clark County Public Administrator John Cahill, who also supported Bertsch’s appointment, said outside court that he believed Stephen Paddock’s main assets might amount to little more than the value of homes he owned in Reno and a southern Nevada retirement community in Mesquite.
“Police said he spent everything,” Cahill said.