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TMCNet:  Ex-socialite Lin Gosman indicted, charged with hiding assets

[November 10, 2008]

Ex-socialite Lin Gosman indicted, charged with hiding assets

(Palm Beach Post, The (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 7--Linda Gosman, wife of former health-care magnate Abe Gosman, was indicted Friday on multiple criminal fraud charges linked to hiding assets during the couple's high-profile bankruptcy.

Federal prosecutors are accusing the ex-Palm Beach socialite, now separated from her husband, of taking $344,000 in cash from bank accounts during Abe Gosman's Chapter 11 bankruptcy and lying about the expensive jewelry, artwork and furniture she stashed in a self-storage unit and hotel safe.

Lin Gosman, 59, also was charged with mortgage fraud for failing to disclose in late 2004 that she was a party to lawsuits in connection with her husband's bankruptcy when applying for a $1.14 million mortgage for a condo in the Trump Tower in downtown West Palm Beach.

Additionally, she is accused of making false statements by failing to disclose in 2005 a $66 million judgment against her when she sought a second $350,000 mortgage on a home in Jupiter.

Gosman, dressed in a gray sweater and wearing leg shackles and handcuffs, stood and wept openly before federal Magistrate James Hopkins on Friday as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida and the Internal Revenue Service laid out the details of a 16-count indictment that seeks to have her return $693,000 -- money from the bank accounts she failed to disclose and the second mortgage on a Jupiter home.

If convicted on all felony charges, Gosman would face a maximum jail sentence of 175 years.

At Friday's bail hearing, which went on for several hours, Gosman repeatedly professed to Hopkins that she was innocent of all charges. She said she was separated from Abe Gosman, the once high-flying financier who famously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001.

Gosman entered a plea of not guilty but will be spending the weekend in jail. She surrendered her passport, and Hopkins ordered her detained in Palm Beach County Jail while he sorts out what assets Gosman will use to meet a $1 million bail. She agreed at the hearing to use her Trump Tower apartment as security for a $600,000 bond.

Gosman was taken from the courtroom without speaking to the media. But her attorney, Ed Shohat, was not pleased.

"She got bail," he said flatly. "I wish the bail was lower." Shohat said he was new to the case. Of the indictment, he said, "I think what happened to her is awful." Friday's proceedings marked yet another chapter in the fall of a woman who, along with her husband, once personified the glamour and glitz of Palm Beach society.

Abe Gosman, 78, was once worth nearly $500 million and was one of Palm Beach County's biggest philanthropists. By the time he filed for Chapter 11 in 2001, he had lost all of it. Last year, his 6-year-old bankruptcy case was finally discharged.

But in 2005, the court found that Abe Gosman had shifted assets to Lin, who was then hit with a $66 million judgment.

The indictment says Lin Gosman denied in a June 2005 deposition in bankruptcy court that she had any furniture, artwork or jewelry that had not been turned over to the court trustee. But the court authorized the trustee and U.S. marshals to break into one of her storage units, which contained ''valuable'' furniture and artwork.

At Villa Jasmine, a unit in the Colony Hotel where she lived, a safe contained a triple-strand Tahitian pearl necklace with a diamond-encrusted clasp and diamond earrings.

Gosman, the indictment says, also hid cash by moving more than $419,000 from overseas accounts to domestic accounts and taking cash withdrawals of $344,000 between September 2005 and March 2007.

Abe Gosman has owned one of the tonier estates in Palm Beach. In 2005, he sold it to billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump for $41.35 million to pay off his creditors.

The Gosmans then moved to Trump Tower on Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach. But the indictment says Lin Gosman failed to disclose to her mortgage lender, Washington Mutual, that she was subject to lawsuits in regard to her husband's bankruptcy when she applied for a $1.14 million mortgage for the new condo.

In a second case, Lin Gosman claimed she had no outstanding judgments against her when she applied for a $350,000 second mortgage on a house on Sea Steppes Court in Jupiter from Washington Mutual, the indictment says. In fact, she had a $66 million judgment against her stemming from her husband's bankruptcy case, the court papers say.

Staff writer Allison Ross and staff researcher Neils Heimeriks contributed to this story.

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