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FOX 13 Investigates: SLC attorney confesses to embezzling millions from family of famous skier

Alzheimer's patient Glenn McConkey, the mother of famous skier Shane McConkey, is among the 23 victims
Posted at 10:20 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-13 00:30:23-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The FOX 13 Investigates team has learned a prominent Salt Lake City attorney has confessed to embezzling millions of dollars from clients over the past 13 years.

Most of the stolen money belongs to Glenn McConkey, an elderly woman with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

She is the mother of famous extreme skier Shane McConkey.

Shane McConkey and his stunts have been recognized at an international level.

He died in 2009 while attempting a ski-BASE jump in Italy.

"He had a love of life that was hard to miss," said Laura Milliken Gray, an attorney and family friend representing Shane McConkey's daughter, Ayla McConkey. "(He was) very engaging, very charismatic. If you met him, you would pick up on that right away."

Ayla McConkey was just three years old when her father died.

Although some of Shane McConkey's assets went to his mother, Glenn McConkey, she was also independently wealthy.

"Glenn was a famous person in her own right in Park City. Very well known. Very athletic. A very good skier," Gray said. "When she entered into her slow decline, everyone around her knew it."

Glenn McConkey hired prominent Salt Lake City attorney Calvin Curtis to handle her estate.

Curtis advertised himself as a champion for people who are incapacitated. Attorneys say he was widely respected in Utah's legal community.

"Cal was always considered to be one of the most upstanding members of the estate planning and elder law community," Gray said. "I also have an expertise in estate planning and elder law... I sought advice from him over the years. He’s taught many classes, some of which I’ve attended."

Glenn McConkey, through her attorney, disinherited her own granddaughter.

Ayla McConkey was just 10 years old at the time.

Instead, Curtis was named as the trustee.

"(Ayla) is Glenn's only living relative, and they were very close," Gray said. "He has taken advantage of an old woman who has Alzheimer’s and ripped her off, took all of her money, and left her granddaughter — her only living relative — without the inheritance that she was supposed to get... I think Cal Curtis thought he had the perfect crime because he thought he had the perfect victim."

Glenn McConkey is now in a memory unit, requiring 24/7 care for Alzheimer's disease.

Gray said, at first, she thought Curtis might have simply mismanaged Glenn McConkey's money. The family later learned that the funds were outright stolen.

In October, Curtis was ordered to pay back $12,101,362.20 of stolen money to Glenn McConkey.

Curtis has confessed to multiple federal crimes taking place between 2008 and 2021, including wire fraud and money laundering.

According to documents filed in United States District Court, he "used proceeds to support a lavish lifestyle with frequent travel, to purchase tickets to basketball and football games, to give lavish gifts to others, and to support the operations of his law firm... CURTIS diverted funds through fraudulent means from at least 22 other trusts as well."

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Greg Skordas, the defense attorney representing Curtis, said his client does not have enough money to pay back the victims.

"Our concern is that there will not be enough money to take care of Glenn for the rest of her life," Gray said. "I wish we could get the money back so we can make sure Glenn was taken care of. That keeps me and my clients up at night."

Curtis purchased and remodeled a mansion at 1135 E. South Temple Street in Salt Lake City. According to recent listings, the home office has 10 bathrooms and nine bedrooms. The property has since been forfeited to the government.

Federal documents state Curtis also used stolen money "to pay for the model of his home in Tampa, Florida, and not for the benefit of (Glenn McConkey)."

Curtis did not speak with FOX 13.

Skordas confirmed Curtis will plead guilty on Tuesday. He described Curtis as "apologetic" and "cooperative with federal authorities."

He expects Curtis to spend 5-10 years in prison.

"If he really has any remorse, he could reach out to Ayla. He knows where I am," Gray said. "It’s going to undermine people’s faith in attorneys, and it should... We dedicate our lives to protecting people who are incapacitated and have vulnerabilities, and he violated that sacred trust."

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