Vitale Caturano & Co. is facing a malpractice lawsuit for allegedly failing to properly investigate a number of red flags that could have tipped a prominent New England family off to the looting of some $57 million from its trust funds.The Ayer Family Trusts holds several hundred million dollars for about 100 descendents of industrialist Frederick Ayer. Those trusts are managed under the Tenens Corp. (which does business as Essex Street Associates), and had been largely overseen by the corporation’s former chief operating office, and an employee of more than 30 years, John Doorly.

According to other court documents, Doorly engaged in the “systematic looting” of $57 million from the trust funds, much of it through the use of duplicate accounts -- spending freely on his wife, son, his mistresses; investing in shopping malls, car dealerships and sports marketing companies; and expensing amenities such as planes, limos, vacation homes and exotic golf trips.

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