Michael Volpe Investigates
Michael Volpe Investigates
Michael Volpe Investigates Podcast The Impromptu: Episode 47 An Interview with Yvette Dobbie

Michael Volpe Investigates Podcast The Impromptu: Episode 47 An Interview with Yvette Dobbie

She describes another nightmare in Orange County Probate Court.

Flow chart created by Yvette Dobbie to explain her family’s near twenty year drama in Orange County Probate Court

Yvette Dobbie joins me on the podcast.

Yvette’s husband and his family went through an Orange County Probate Court nightmare which lasted nearly twenty years.

It involved some players who have been discussed before. One culprit in Yvette’s story is Teresa Gorman. Gorman was previously introduced when I interviewed Jodee Sussman; find that interview here. Jodee described how Gorman was central to the Orange County probate scheme.

The alleged “head of the snake” is Ruben Martinez and attorney/wife Teresa Gorman. Their company, Fiduciary Real Estate Service, allegedly sells the properties of the victims after “managing” and devaluing them. They allegedly sell to their “cronies” who flip shortly after at great profit.

Gorman has been the attorney for many unscrupulous fiduciary including Huntington. If not in fact a conflict of interest, definitely quid pro quo.

The alleged attorneys involved in many of these conspiracies are Eric Francis Becker, Samantha Jean Morris, David Neal Shaver, Neil Knuppel, and Ernest Hayward.

The alleged conservators involved are Richard Huntington, Sally Cicerone, Judith A Okonski, Lee Ann and Bruce Hitchman.

Just as in Jodee’s explanation, Gorman brought in her husband, Ruben Martinez, and used their company, Fiduciary Real Estate Services (FRES), to quickly sell two properties at significantly under the market value.

Gorman, Yvette said, advertised in a local newspaper which targeted her mother’s retirement community, and Yvette believes that Gorman uses these advertisements to troll for potential victims.


I reached out to Gorman and her husband but received no response.

Another person who popped up on her case is Sally Cicerone.

Cicerone became a notorious figure in Orange County after she lost her license. Here is part of an Orange County Register article.

One of Orange County’s most prolific probate conservators, accused of transferring thousands of dollars without consent from the account of a dead client whom she no longer represented, has surrendered her state license.

Sally W. Cicerone of Laguna Hills must resign as a fiduciary from 43 existing cases and can no longer take any new clients under the agreement approved in April by the state Professional Fiduciaries Bureau.

The bureau, a division of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, accused Cicerone of repeatedly transferring money out of financial accounts for the Santa Barbara-based Brouhard Trust even though she no longer represented the client. She also failed to notify the probate court of the transactions. The agreement becomes effective July 27.

In the Brouhard case, Cicerone allegedly transferred more than $63,500 out of the trust and placed it in her attorney’s trust account without proper consent. She also closed out the client’s checking account and transferred the $33,574 balance to her attorney’s account. When notified of errors and poor record-keeping, she charged thousands of dollars to correct it, the complaint said.

The attorney was not named in the accusation but was identified as Jeffrey Vanderveen in a separate appellate court ruling. Together they charged the trust $3,425 in traveling fees to attend a court hearing on the improper transactions in Santa Barbara.

In this case, after Gorman was hired to draft a trust, Gorman then maneuvered the case so that Cicerone would be appointed trustee.

Gorman was also suggesting to Patricia that she be allowed to remove Steve as Trustee/Executor of Scott’s Estate (from which Patricia was an heir). Patricia wanted Steve to remain as Trustee. Within two weeks, Patricia passed. Gorman immediately went into court and asked for Cicerone to be appointed Successor Trustee of the Scott Dobbie Estate, removing Steve entirely.

Yvette explained that once Cicerone was appointed, all bets were off.

Cicerone was usually unreachable; she never did an accounting of where any of the money was going in the estate. The estate which began when Yvette’s father-in-law passed away in 2001 was valued at approximately $10 million.

By the end, Yvette told me her husband was able to recover approximately $1,400.

The rest had been pilfered and vanished.

Post Script:

Find the previous articles in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8. Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, and Part 17.

To support more stories like this check out the Orange County fundraiser.

Michael Volpe Investigates
Michael Volpe Investigates
I give voice to the voiceless with true original reporting on topics the rest of the media is too afraid or lazy to cover.