Rivkin Radler Thwarts Murderer’s Efforts to Keep Assets from Victim’s Children

July 1, 2019 | Trusts & Estates

In the early morning hours of November 4, 2016, Maria Crumb was brutally murdered by her husband Robert Crumb.  Due to the efforts of attorneys in Rivkin Radler’s Trusts & Estates Practice Group working with The Safe Center LI, the children have maintained the rights to their parents’ joint assets.  Rivkin Radler represented Maria’s estate on a pro bono basis culminating in a favorable settlement. Hon. Margaret C. Reilly on May 14, 2019, approved the settlement in which Crumb relinquished his interests in the joint property in favor of the children.

Following an argument about their pending divorce, Robert Crumb stabbed his wife Maria with a knife, leaving her paralyzed, but able to see and hear what was taking place.  When the children – a then 12-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter – leaped to their mother’s defense, Crumb used that same knife to slash his daughter’s arm and hand while her brother tried to defend their mother.  He then fatally slit Maria’s throat.

On May 7, 2018, a jury convicted Crumb of his wife’s murder and he was later sentenced to 47 years to life in prison.

Crumb intended to use the couple’s assets, which he maintained passed to him despite him murdering his wife, to pay his legal costs and satisfy personal debts.  The legal team argued that, among other things, Crumb’s conviction disqualified him from having any claim to the family home or other marital assets, despite any contributions he may have made to their acquisition. Although case law is unclear on this matter, Rivkin took the position that, by reason of his crime, he forfeited all interests in these assets.

“The kids have already been through so much,” said Rivkin Partner Jeffrey Greener, who led the legal effort. “I am happy that we were able to resolve this in their favor so that they can begin to heal.” Jeffrey P. Gorak, whose work on behalf of the Crumb family helped resolve the matter, said, “I’m just so glad that we were able to help these kids so that they can start moving past this tragedy.”

“After learning of Crumb’s efforts to keep the marital home and assets, I called Alan Rutkin, the partner in charge of the pro bono program at Rivkin Radler,“ said Gail Broder Katz, Pro Bono Project Coordinator at The Safe Center LI. “He was out of the office, so I spoke with Laura Carozza, his assistant at the time, and explained the horrific situation and the family’s need for expert legal representation.  She immediately sent out a firm-wide email describing their plight and my request for help.  Not 10 minutes went by when my cellphone rang.  It was Jeffrey Greener, who said, ’I’ll take the case.’”

About The Safe Center LI

Built on over four decades of leading the community in responding to victims’ needs, the mission of The Safe Center is to protect, assist and empower victims of family violence and sexual assault while challenging and changing social systems that tolerate and perpetuate abuse. The Safe Center provides free confidential and comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, teen dating violence, and human trafficking. More information is available at tscli.org.

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