The day before the reading of the will, Kendal l and Woody were seated in Steve's office. ' don't understand why we're here,. Woody said. ' reading is supposed to be tomorrow."'s someone I want you to meet,' Steve told them. " sister.' They were both staring at him. ''ve already met her,' Kendall said. Steve pressed a button on the intercom. ' you ask her to come in, pleaset Kendall and Woody looked at each other, puzzled. The door opened, and Julia Stanford walked into the office. Steve stood up. ' is your sister, Julia."

"What the hell are you talking aboutt Woody exploded. ' are you trying to pulff ' me explain,' Steve said quietly. He spoke for fifteen minutes, and finished by saying, ' Winger confirmed that her DNA matches your father's.' When he was through, Woody said, "Tyler! I can't believe it!" it." don't understand. The other woman's fingerprints prove that she is Julia,' Woody said. ' still have the fingerprmt card.' Steve felt his pulse pounding. ' dot "Yeah. I kept it as kind of a joke,-" want you to do me a favor," Steve said. At ten o'clock the next morning, a large group was gathered in the conference room of Renquist, Renquist & Fitzgerald. Simon Fitzgerald sat at the head of a table. In the room were Kendall, Tyler, Woody, Steve, and Julia. In addition, there were several strangers present. Fitzgerald introduced two of them. ' is William Parker and Patrick Evans. They're with the law firms that represent Stanford Enterprises. They've brought with them the financial report on the company. I'll discuss the will first, then they can take over the meeting."'s get on with it,' Tyler said impatiently. He was sitting apart from the others. I'm not only going to get the money, but Im going to destroy you bastards. Simon Fitzgerald nodded. ' well.' In front of Fitzgerald was a large file marked HARRY STANFORD - LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. ''m going to give each of you a copy of the will so it won't be necessary to wade through all the technicalities. I 9ve already told you that Harry Stanford's children ill equally inherit the estate.' Julia glanced over at Steve, a look of bemusement on her face.

Fm gladfor her, Steve thought. Even though it puts her way out of my reach. Simon Fitzgerald was going on. ' are a dozen or so bequests, but they're all minor.' Tyler was thinking, Lee will be here this afternoon. I want to be at the airport to meet him ' you were told earlier, Stanford Enterprises has assets of approximately six billion dollars.' Fitzgerald nodded toward William Parker.'I'll let Mr. Parker take it from here.' William Parker opened a briefcase and spread some papers out on the conference table. ' Mr. Fitzgerald said, there are six billion dollars in assets. However ... 9 , was a pregnant pause. He looked around the room. ' Enterprises is in debt in excess of fifteen billion dollars.' Woody was on his feet. ' the hell are you sayine.' Tyler's face turned ashen. ' this some kind of macabre joket ' has to be!' Kendall said hoarsely. Mr. Parker turned to one of the men in the room. '. Leonard Redding is with the Securities and Exchange Commission. I'll let him explain.' Redding nodded. ' the last two years, Harry Stanford was convinced that interest rates were going to fall. In the past, he had made millions by betting on that. When interest rates started to rise, he was still convinced they would drop again, and he kept leveraging his bets. He did massive borrowing to buy long-term bonds, but the interest rates went up and his borrowing costs jumped, while the value of the bonds tumbled. The banks were willing to do business with him because of his reputation and his vast fortune, but when he tried to recoup his losses by starting to invest in high-risk securities, they began to get worried. He made a series of disastrous investments. Some of the money he borrowed was pledged by securities he had bought with borrowed money as collateral for' further borrowing." other words,' Patrick Evans interjected, ' was pyramiding his debts, operating illegally." is correct.

Unfortunately for him, interest rates underwent one of the steepest climbs in financial history. He had to keep borrowing money to cover the money he had already borrowed. It was a vicious circle.' They sat there, hanging on Redding's every word. ' father gave his personal guarantee to the company's pension plan and illegally used that money to buy more stock. When the banks began to question what he was doing, he set up decoy companies and provided false records of solvency and fake sales of his properties to drive up the value of his paper. He was committing fraud. In the end, he was counting on a consortium of banks to bail him out of trouble., They refused. When they told the Securities and Exchange Commission what was happening, Interpol was brought into the picture.' Redding indicated the man seated next to him.

"This is Inspector Patou, with the French Sftret6. Inspector, would you explain the rest of it, pleaset Inspector Patou spoke English with a slight French accent. ' the request of Interpol, we traced Harry Stanford to St.-Paul-de-Vence, and I sent three detectives there to follow him. He managed to elude them. Interpol had put out a green code to all police departments that Harry Stanford was under suspicion and should be watched. If they had known the extent of his crimes, they would have circulated a red code, or top priority, and we would have apprehended him.' Woody -was in a state of -shock. ''s why he left us his estate. Because there was nothing in it!' William Parker said, "You're right about that. You were all in your father's will because the banks refused to go along with him and he knew that, in essence, he was leaving you nothing. But he spoke to Ren6 Gautier at Cr6dit Lyonnais, who promised to help him. The moment Harry Stanford thought that he was solvent again, he planned to change his will to cut you out of it., "But what about the yacht, and the plane, `:4<3' and the housest Kendall asked.

"I'm sorry,' Parker said. ' will be sold to pay off part of the debt.' Tyler sat there, numb. It was a nightmare beyond imagining.

He was no longer Tyler Stanford, Multibillionaire. He was merely a judge. Tyler got up to leave, shaken. ' I don't know what to say.

If there's nothing else.. He had to get to the airport quickly to meet Lee and try to explain what had happened. Steve spoke up. ' is something else.' He turned. '?' Steve nodded to a man standing at the door. The door opened, and Hal Baker walked in. ', judge-' The breakthrough had come when Woody told Steve that he had the fingerprint card. ''d like to see it,' Steve told him. Woody had been puzzled.

"Why? It just has the woman's two sets of fingerprints on it, and they matched. We all checked it." the man who called himself Frank Timmons took the fingerprints, right?"." if he touched the card, his fingerprints will be on it.' Steve's hunch had proved to be right. Hal Baker's prints were all over the card, and it had taken less than thirty minutes for the computers to reveal his identity. Steve had telephoned the district attorney in Chicago. A warrant was issued, and two detectives had appeared at Hal Baker's house. He was in the yard playing catch with Billy. '. Bakert '.' The detectives showed their badges. ' district attorney would like to talk to you.". I can't.' He was indignant. ' I ask whyt one of the detectives asked.

"You can see why, can't you? I'm playing ball with my son!' The district attorney had read the transcript of Hal Baker's trial. He looked at the man seated in front of him and said, ' understand you're a family man." "That's right,' Hal Baker said proudly. ''s what this country is all about. If every family could -". Baker. He leaned forward. ''ve been working with Judge Stanford." don't know any Judge Stanford."

"Let me refresh your memory. He put you on parole. He used you to impersonate a private detective named Frank Timmons, and we have reason to believe he also asked you to kill a Julia Stanford." don't know what you're talking about.' ' I'm talking about is a sentence of ten to twenty years. I'm going to push for the twenty.' Hal Baker turned pale. ' can't do that! Why, my wife and kids would ...". On the other hand,' the district attorney said, ' you're willig to turn state's evidence, I'm prepared to arrange for you-to get off very lightly.' Hal Baker was beginning to pefspire. ' ... what do I have to dot - ' to me.' Now, in the conference room of Renquist, Renquist & Fitzgerald, Hal Baker looked at Tyler, and said, ' are you, judget Woody looked up and exclaimed, '! It's Frank Timmons!' Steve said to Tyler, ' is the man you ordered to break into our offices to get you a copy of your father's will, to dig up your father's body, and to kill Julia Stanford.' It took a moment for Tyler to find his voice. ''re crazy! He's a convicted felon. No one is going to take his word against mine!" one has to take his word,' Steve said. ' you seen this man beforet ' course. He was tried in my court."'s his namet "His name is ...' Tyler saw the trap. ' mean ... he probably has a lot of aliases.' ' you tried him in your courtroom, his name was Hal Baker." ... that's right." when he came to Boston, you introduced him as Frank Timmons.' Tyler was floundering. ', I ... I ... ' had him released into your custody, and you used him to try to prove that Margo Posner was the real Julia."! I had nothing to do with that. I never met that woman until she showed up here.' Steve turned to Lieutenant Kennedy. ' you get that, Lieutenant?"." Steve turned back to Tyler. ' checked on Margo Posner. She was also tried in your courtroom and released into your custody. The district attorney in Chicago issued a search warrant-this morning for your safe-deposit box. He called a little while ago to tell me that they found a document giving you Julia Stanford's share of your father's estate. The document was signed five days before the supposed Julia Stanford arrived in Boston.' Tyler was breathing hard, trying to regain his wits. ' ... I ... This is preposterous!' Lieutenant Kennedy said, "I'm placing you under arrest, Judge Stanford, for conspiracy to commit murder. We'll arrange for extradition papers. You'll be sent back to Chicago.' Tyler stood there, his world collapsing around him. ' have the right to remain silent. If you choose to give up this right anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to talk to a lawyer and have him present with you while you are being questioned. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning, if you yvish one. Do you understandt Lieutenant Kennedy asked. '.' And then a slow triumphant smile lit his1ace. I know how to beat them! he thought happily. ' you ready, judget He nodded and said calmly, '. I'm ready. I'd like to go back to Rose. Hill to pick up my things."'s fine. We'll have these two policemen accompany you.% Tyler turned to look at Julia, and there was so much hatred in his eyes that it made her shudder. Thirty minutes later, Tyler and the two policemen reached Rose Hill. They walked into the front hall. , will take me only a few minutes to pack,' Tyler said. They watched as Tyler went up the staircase to his room. In his room, Tyler walked over to the bureau containing the revolver and loaded it. The sound of the shot seemed to reverberate forever. Copyright 2016 - 2023