State Trooper Todd Larkins was killed in the line of duty in 2005 after being struck by a tractor trailer. Leaving behind his 12 year old daughter, Carina Larkins, there was a little bit of peace for those close to the officer and family knowing that his legacy would be taken care of financially after receiving over $2 million for a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit.
But Carina never thought that money would be at risk…until recently.
Jackie Garton, 54, a trusted attorney in the state of Tennessee, was appointed to oversee young Carina’s money. On Monday, he was sentenced to over 7 years in prison for stealing more than half of her settlement that he was entrusted to watch. Garton also allegedly took money from other clients who relied on him as well, making off with a grand total of $1.36 million.
According to prosecutors, in 2009, “Garton began withdrawing funds under false pretenses from [Carina Larkins’ account] and others, without the clients’ knowledge.” Garton then “converted the funds into cashier’s checks and used the money to enrich his lifestyle, including purchasing luxury items including a Jaguar automobile, a boat, and a house.”
In 2017 Carina Larkins was 24 years old and had a dream to open her own bookshop, planning to use a portion of the funds from her deceased father’s settlement.
Carina Larkins' father, State Trooper Todd Larkins was killed in the line of duty in 2005. in 2017, she found out the attorney who was acting as a trustee stole $1.2 mil from her trust fund. Today the attorney was sentenced to federal prison and tonight, Carina speaks to @NC5 pic.twitter.com/fYDfLBRzWu
— Kelsey Gibbs (@KelseyGibbsNC5) April 23, 2019
“I wanted to open a book store, I wanted to travel and so I started making plans assuming that I had this money because he had told me that it been growing,” Larkins said.
That was when she learned of the withdrawals being made on her trust fund account for years by the attorney who was appointed to protect it.
“Shock is an understatement, I was absolutely devastated, I couldn’t breathe,” Larkins said.
Garton confessed to stealing at least $1.2 million dollars specifically from Carina Larkin, which was most of the money stolen from the entirety of his clients.
Pleading guilty to wire fraud, tax fraud, and aggravated identity theft, Garton will be spending up to 92 months in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.
In additional to these charges, Garton also underreported his income in 2016 and attempted to defraud the IRS of more than $350,000.
“Honestly, I feel kind of relieved; a big part of this entire thing is finally over,” said Carina Larkin following the 2 year battle with Garton.
“Hopefully, this would be a warning to other people who are in a position of power out there, hey, you’re not going to get away with this so don’t try it and hopefully nobody else will be hurt the way that I have been hurt,” said Larkins.