In what sounds like it could be a made-for-t.v. drama, comic book icon Stan Lee is suing his former business manager for fraud and elder abuse. The allegations range from theft of millions of dollars, to funding a fake non-profit, to setting up a scheme to steal Lee’s blood and use it as a merchandising item. Oddly, before filing this lawsuit, Lee had threatened to sue anyone who reported that he was being taken advantage of.
Stolen Blood and Money
Jerardo Olivarez, a former business associate of Lee’s daughter, served as the comic book creator’s business manager. According to the lawsuit’s complaint, Olivarez took over the 95-year-old’s finances and stole more than $4 million after Stan Lee’s wife passed away in July of 2017, by having him sign over power of attorney.
Specifically, the lawsuit claims the former business manager used Lee’s money to buy himself an $850,000 condo in West Hollywood, and used a “”series of complicated wire-transfers” to steal nearly $1.4 million from Lee’s accounts. And in a bizarre twist, Lee says Olivarez arranged to sell his boss’s blood which was to be used to stamp comic books, all without Lee’s consent or knowledge.
A Fake Non-Profit to Ease Racial Tension
The elderly comic book icon is also accusing Olivarez of using his money to loan $300,000 to a fake non-profit set up by the former business manager. The non-profit was purported to be a charity called “Hands of Respect” with a supposed mission of easing racial tension. According to Lee’s complaint, it was really just a scheme to steal funds from Lee and others for Olivarez’s own benefit. Through this lawsuit, Lee is trying to obtain his financial documents as well as restitution.
This legal action comes just days after The Hollywood Reporter published a piece describing Lee’s tumultuous relationship with his daughter, and the take-over of his affairs by three of her acquaintances, including Olivarez. Subsequent to that report, Lee appeared in a video saying that people reporting such things were “spreading lies.”
Unfortunately, elder abuse and fraud occur more frequently than we’d like to admit — even the creator of superheroes is at risk. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you think someone has taken advantage of or harmed you or a loved one.