Attorney Who Killed Family Lost Millions

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

(AP) At least three investors claim they lost millions of dollars working with a New York tax attorney who police say killed himself after fatally beating and asphyxiating his wife and two daughters, a lawyer said Thursday.

Attorney Steven B. Drelich said Thursday that at least three people have called his office to say they lost about $4 million to William Parente, who was found dead Monday in a Maryland hotel room along with his family.

"We've been contacted by others who have lost millions of dollars," Drelich said. "What he did to his family is unforgivable. The face of evil can be pretty ordinary."

Drelich's partner, Bruce Montague, told authorities on Tuesday after learning of the deaths that he lost at least $450,000 to Parente.

Drelich said firm officials contacted Baltimore County police, who referred them to the FBI and New York Attorney General's office. The FBI has since begun investigating the losses.

Authorities have said Parente did not leave any notes that might show he was driven by investment business troubles, and detectives say they don't have a motive for the slayings.

"We have not reached that determination and we may never reach that determination," Baltimore County police spokesman Cpl. Mike Hill said.

Police said Wednesday that Parente, 59, of Garden City, N.Y., killed his wife, Betty Parente, 58, and their daughters, 19-year-old Stephanie and 11-year-old Catherine, then himself.

Their bodies were discovered Monday in a hotel room north of Baltimore. The couple and their younger daughter were in Maryland to visit Stephanie, a sophomore at Loyola College in Baltimore.

The New York state attorney general's office said it received a complaint from a man who says he invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with William M. Parente and had trouble getting his money back.
A friend of Stephanie's told The Baltimore Sun that Stephanie was surprised by her family's visit because they were already scheduled to come see her this Friday.

"None of it made sense," said Gabrielle Paige, 19. "They just called her and said they were here in Baltimore. It seemed like they decided on a whim to come out here."

Betty and the daughters, who were found on the bed, died from blunt force trauma and asphyxiation, Hill said. William Parente died by cutting himself and was found in the bathroom, but Hill did not give further details.

It appeared that Betty died first, Catherine next and Stephanie later Sunday afternoon, though the timeline was still under investigation, Hill said. There was no sign that they had been restrained.

Investigators were unable to determine if there was a struggle or whether objects found in the room were used in the killings or another object was used and later disposed of, Hill said.

James Margolin, an FBI spokesman in New York, confirmed that the agency began investigating the father's investment business dealings after the deaths but declined to provide more details.

The New York state attorney general's office said it received a complaint from a man who says he invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with William M. Parente and had trouble getting his money back.

Spokesman Alex Detrick said that the complaint was received Tuesday, and that officials hadn't determined whether to start an investigation.


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