AUBURN — A woman accused of the theft of $151,238 from DeKalb County physician Dr. Mark Souder in a deal involving an estate in Costa Rica told a DeKalb County jury Thursday she felt “betrayed” after Souder turned the matter over to authorities and she was interviewed by police.
Kattia Tarnow, 50, of Fort Wayne took the witness stand in her own defense on the third day of a jury trial in DeKalb Circuit Court. She is accused of exerting unauthorized control over Souder’s money between August 2014 and November 2015.
According to a police affidavit, Souder reported becoming involved in a business relationship with Tarnow in 2007. Tarnow offered Souder the opportunity to invest in the sale of her family estate in Costa Rica, and he would receive money in return.
According to the affidavit, Tarnow convinced Souder the estate sold in 2011 for about $200 million and the money from the sale was being held in a bank. Souder reported that Tarnow convinced him judges’ stamps and documents were needed to free the money from the bank, and Souder continued to give large sums of money to Tarnow over a period of several years to pay for the items to free the money, according to the affidavit.
During testimony Tuesday, Souder said that over time, the amount of money he was told he would receive increased to around $40 million.
Thursday, Tarnow testified that the estate involved a large area of land in Costa Rica that carried the “title of the crown” and had been owned by her father, who died in 2003.
Tarnow said she was required to make trips to Costa Rica in regard to the property and the estate, and that Souder and Dean Kruse of Auburn said they would help her financially to deal with the family estate, which also involved siblings and cousins.
Despite Tarnow’s husband wanting “everything to stop” in 2013, Tarnow said she continued to try to get money released from the estate and that Souder continued to assist. Tarnow said she spent time in a hospital during the period of August 2014 to November 2015, but continued to work on the estate matter.
“Did you ever tell Mark (Souder) that you wanted to be done with this?” asked defense attorney Marcia Linsky.
“Many times,” Tarnow replied.
“Everything was OK in the beginning,” she said of her business relationship with Souder. “Later, it became really, really possessive. I already promised so much money, and he was helping me. Once I get the money, he’s going to get his share.”
“Do you still anticipate that at some point, you’ll get money into this country?” Linsky asked Tarnow.
“Oh yeah!” Tarnow replied.
“Did you hide anything from Dr. Souder?” Linksy asked.
“No,” Tarnow said.
“Was it your intention to have this estate matter go on for so long?” Linsky asked.
“No, believe me,” Tarnow responded.
Tarnow said she has chosen to continue fighting for the estate in memory of her father, and for her mother and the benefit of her family.
Also Thursday, the jury saw a video recording of an interview between Indiana State Police Detective Jake Quick and Tarnow.
In the interview, Tarnow told Quick that money from the sale of the land was in a bank account, but she could not give him information on the bank and account without the permission of other family members involved in the estate.
Quick said he did not believe the money was there.
“The puzzle pieces don’t fit. Evidence doesn’t match what you’re telling me,” Quick said in the recording.
Tarnow’s husband, Keith Tarnow, testified Thursday, telling the jury that Souder would have been treated fairly if he had stopped investing in the estate deal. However, Souder did not stop and continued on his own volition, Tarnow contended.
Referring to bank account and transaction records, Keith Tarnow acknowledged that money from Souder’s account was deposited to the account of him and his wife.
“Why to your account?” Linksy asked.
“For various purposes, things that needed paid that my wife needed to do. … He gave her money to do whatever she wanted to do,” Tarnow replied.
Tarnow’s daughters also testified Thursday, relating that their mother was gone for a large part of the time, visiting Costa Rica to deal with the estate matter.
The trial continues today.