Banker Wins $9.7M from Ex-Wife in Defamation Suit




Banker Wins $9.7M from Ex-Wife in Defamation Suit

A jury verdict ordered a woman to pay her ex-husband $9.7 million in a defamation lawsuit on Friday. The plaintiff claimed she ruined his career and reputation by sending damaging letters to his potential employers, clients, colleagues, charities, and friends.

The 51-year-old Lake Forrest, Illinois investment banker Scott George, was relieved to put the case against his ex-wife Maria George, who he divorced in 1999, behind him.
“She lied about me, and it hurt me,” Scott George said. “This has never been about the money. This is about moving on with my life.”


Maria George, 51, sent out 200 letters, complete with glossy 8”x10” photos of herself, accusing Scott George of bribing judges, cheating his employers out of money in investment scams, and making plans to have her killed.


According to court records, Maria George identified top local firms where her ex was likely to seek employment, and sent her letters to each of them.


Mr. George said he was demoted shortly after the letters were sent out in late 2002, and when his firm was sold, he was the sole employee not offered a job. Ed Joyce, Mr. George’s lawyer, said George went from making about $1.5 million a year to being unable to find employmwent.


Scott George eventually found a job where he makes $160,000 yearly with a firm that never received his ex wife’s letter. During the trial, financial expert witnesses testified that as a result of Maria George’s actions, Scott George has already lost in excess of $1 million in income, and will lose over $15 million more by the time he retires.


Scott George said, "I feel very good about the jury's decision. It is unfortunate that we had to go to such extreme lengths to find vindication but the outcome is exactly what we had expected and hoped for. I am thankful that an independent body was able to identify the truth and then had the courage to compensate me for at least some of the damage that has been done."


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