Louis Gottschalk gave $1.3 million to Web fraud, son says.
By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI
The Orange County Register
SANTA ANA – An acclaimed psychiatrist at UC Irvine is being sued by his son for allegedly giving away more than $1.3 million of his family's trust fund to a popular Nigerian Internet scam.
Louis Gottschalk was contacted by e-mail in 1994 by the scam experts. The lawsuit, filed by Guy Gottschalk last month in Orange County, alleges the psychiatrist e-mailed the unknown persons back, then transferred money to their accounts in 1995. Guy Gottschalk believes his father transferred more than $3 million, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also says Louis Gottschalk met with FBI agents in 1999 and told them he had been defrauded. But Guy Gottschalk alleges his father kept transferring money after meeting with authorities, according to court records. Louis Gottschalk declined to comment today on the lawsuit.
Louis Gottschalk was married to Helen Gottschalk, who died in 1993, according to the suit. After she died, the Gottschalk Family Trust was split among surviving family members, the suit says.
The lawsuit asks that Louis Gottschalk be removed as general partner of the fund. A hearing on a preliminary injunction is set for March 14 in Orange County Superior Court.
The Nigerian scam has defrauded Americans of hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the U.S. Secret Service. The advance fee fraud is known internationally as "4-1-9" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes, authorities say.
Louis Gottschalk joined UCI in 1967 as founding chairman of the university's department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, according to the university. Some of his accomplishments include using the Gottschalk-Gleser scales – a tool for discerning brain impairments – to determine that former President Reagan, who had Alzheimer's disease, suffered from cognitive impairment as early as 1980.