Attorney in Bankruptcy Inquiry Slain : Homicide: The lawyer was to have provided authorities with information on alleged irregularities in the court system in San Francisco.


Police are investigating the slaying of a lawyer who was scheduled to present law enforcement authorities with information he apparently believed pointed to irregularities in the bankruptcy court system here.

The body of San Francisco attorney Dexter R. Jacobson, 52, was found Saturday in an isolated spot near Sausalito. He had been shot once in the head.

Police have no suspects and have not found the murder weapon, Sausalito Police Capt. Steven Willis said. Jacobson's wallet is missing.

Jacobson had an appointment Tuesday to meet with U.S. Trustee Anthony Sousa, whose duties include acting as a watchdog over the bankruptcy courts in Northern California and Nevada. An FBI agent was planning to attend.

"He told me that he definitely uncovered something, but I don't know what it is because I never got a chance to talk to him," Sousa said Tuesday.

Jacobson's murder occurred as federal authorities started an inquiry into the bankruptcy court system in San Francisco, and followed a major criminal case against prominent bankruptcy trustee Charles Duck.

Duck, who oversaw some of the largest bankruptcies in Northern California, pleaded guilty last year to embezzling $2.5 million in bankruptcy funds that had been entrusted to him. He is serving a 27-month prison sentence.

"I don't think it was an isolated case," said Sousa, who along with the FBI helped build the case against Duck.

Duck was the trustee responsible for overseeing the bankruptcy of at least one of Jacobson's clients, businessman Paul Sosnowski, 46.

Sosnowski said that Jacobson was preparing to file a suit accusing Duck of misappropriating funds in the bankruptcy and liquidation of Sosnowski's El Dorado Inn in Sonoma.

Sosnowski, who was to attend the meeting with Jacobson and the federal officials, also said Jacobson's information extended beyond problems involving Duck's handling of bankruptcy cases.

"He had enough information that it would upset people that were making big money"from bankruptcy cases, Sosnowski said. "I just pray that his death offers an incentive to people to get at the truth and clean up the bankruptcy system in Northern California."

The FBI is responsible for looking into problems in the bankruptcy system, but has not entered the investigation of Jacobson's murder, FBI spokesman Duke Diedrich said.

In its Tuesday edition, the Daily Journal, a legal newspaper, quoted U.S. Atty. William T. McGivern as saying his office and FBI were "investigating" Northern California bankruptcy courts.

But in an interview Tuesday, McGivern declined to characterize the inquiry as an investigation, instead calling it "very preliminary." He noted that a memo outlining possible problems in the bankruptcy courts had been referred to the FBI.

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