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November 25, 2002

Accountant accused of stealing money commits suicide

From: Dayton Daily News, OH - 25 Nov 2002

Associated Press

AKRON | An accountant suspected of taking his clients’ investment money committed suicide in his apartment.

Bruce Baskin, 59, of Bath Township, shot himself in the head with a .38-caliber revolver Friday, said Mike Halas, a forensic investigator with the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Baskin was found in his one-bedroom apartment Friday morning by his cleaning lady. Two suicide notes were found in the apartment, detectives said.

Baskin had been the target of lawsuits filed by people and companies that did business with Audiology Cos., a business he co-founded. They accused him of diverting and misusing money from an investors fund he administered.

Audiology Cos. was a buying and marketing group that bought hearing aids and related products and services at a discount for members, who were hearing-care professionals.

According to a lawsuit filed by Merrill Lynch in U.S. District Court, Baskin requested a transfer of money with six investment accounts about the time he was retiring in July. He told officials at the firm that ‘‘he would be moving to an undisclosed location in Switzerland, and that he would not be returning to the United States.’’

Merrill Lynch has not said how much money was transferred, but $1.1 million remains.

One North Carolina audiologist who joined nine others in a lawsuit against Baskin said he is out at least $70,000. He is one of 400 customers in 47 states.

Ten audiologists and their companies filed a lawsuit against Baskin and his companies in Summit County Common Pleas Court on Nov. 13. They hope to freeze the profits from the sale of Baskin’s purchasing cooperative.

The cooperative, through which Baskin received the money he invested, has been closed, and the contents of its Akron office were auctioned off. Baskin’s $270,000 ranch home and its contents were to be auctioned but the sale has been postponed.

[From the Dayton Daily News: 11.25.2002]

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