Embezzlement, Suspicious Death and a Surprise Visit From the FBI


Her death came suddenly and unexpectedly on February 8, “under mysterious circumstances.” Vanessa Patterson may have been worth more to her family dead than alive. She was skimming money from her employer but he’s not accused of killing her.

Suspicious death raises questions

She may have been embezzling from her boss but he’s not a suspect in her suspicious death. Vanessa Patterson’s obituary highlighted a “love of traveling, hosting champagne parties, spoiling her family and friends,” and “achieving her dream of purchasing a home in the Caribbean.” Stuart Siegel says he paid for all that with his money.

You may have heard the name, he’s well-known in Richmond, Virginia. Once the head of menswear brand S&K, his name is on the arena VCU plays in, Siegel Center. It seems that Patterson worked for him for years, on a part time basis as his personal assistant. She didn’t acquire that island home on what he was paying her. He alleges that Patterson “was stealing money from him for at least two years, to the tune of at least $1 million.

In June, Siegel filed a lawsuit in Henrico County Circuit Court alleging that “Patterson spent the embezzled money to fund a lavish lifestyle for herself, her longtime boyfriend Peter Yaffe and her sons.” The businessman eventually discovered the accounting discrepancies and called her out.

When Siegel confronted her about it, she told him she was resigning as his assistant,” the complaint notes. Okay, then. That’s what lawyers are for. Her death isn’t his doing. Details on how she died are nonexistent, other than it was sudden and unexpected.

It wasn’t until the FBI showed up at her door to question her about the missing money that things got dangerous. The agent handed her “a ‘target letter‘ informing her that the FBI was investigating her in connection with the embezzlement.” Her death happened shortly after that, “under mysterious circumstances.

While Siegel was upset at the betrayal, he had no need to stoop to murder. On the other hand, there were others who did stand to benefit from her untimely demise. Those same family and friends she partied with.

Control of her assets

Siegel wants as much of his money back as he can get. He needs to claw it from Yaffe and her sons. Patterson’s death “passed control of her assets – including some alleged to have been stolen from Siegel – to Yaffe and her two sons, Carter and Graydon Patterson.

They seem to be under the impression they could simply vanish to the offshore estate and sip rum out of coconuts. Lawyers for Siegel named “Yaffe, who is the executor of Patterson’s estate, as well as her two sons and her company, Association Management Specialists” as responsible for paying him back.

The paperwork claims the trio “allegedly received much of the stolen funds and funneled it to Patterson and the others.” They’re also asking the judge to freeze the assets and stash them in a trust account while the courtroom drama plays out. He’ll probably grant it.

Before she got busted skimming cash and long before her death, Patterson worked for Siegel “as his part-time personal assistant and bookkeeper for a rate of $30 an hour. The suit says she typically worked two half-days per week in that role at Siegel’s office in Henrico.” That’s not enough to pay for her Champaign lifestyle.

Her job was to prepare checks for Siegel’s signature. He found out that at some point she started forging his signature, “making the checks payable to herself and Association Management Specialists.” AMS “appears to offer management services of other nonprofit associations.

Before her death, she “oversaw at least two such associations: the Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association and the Precast Concrete Association of Virginia.” In other words, “Patterson owned and controlled AMS, and used it as her personal piggy bank for a substantial amount of the funds she stole from plaintiff.


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