Kouri Darden Richins claims in a lawsuit she is still entitled to her deceased husband’s estate as per a prenuptial agree, though his family now says her mother and brother are assisting her to “siphon assets” from her business, KPCW reports.
This all comes three months after Kouri was arrested for allegedly murdering her husband, Eric Richens, KPCW adds.
Eric was found dead at the foot of his bed on March 3, 2022, the arrest warrant states. The medical examiner found the level of fentanyl in Eric’s body to be “approximately five times the lethal dosage,” and that it was illicit fentanyl, not prescription.
Kouri told police she and Eric had been celebrating the closure of a sale on a $2 million home she wanted to flip, though investigators learned she didn’t close on the sale until the day after Eric’s death, the warrant says.
Last month, Kouri filed a civil lawsuit claiming she is still entitled to half of the family home equity, according to the lawsuit documents. She also states the home is worth close to $2 million, and was the center of their family life. She also claimed that Eric’s sister, Kate, never contributed to any payments on the mortgage or utilities following Eric’s death, yet Kate is the power of attorney to his estate.
Kouri has been fighting the fact that Eric made his sister the beneficiary of the “Eric Richins Living Trust,” which he created to place his estate under his sister’s name so his kids had something left in the case of his sudden death, KSL-TV previously reported. The trust was the beneficiary of his $500,000 life insurance policy.
Now, Eric’s family is filing a civil lawsuit in response, KPCW reports. They are suing Kouri for at least $13 million on accusations that she stole from Eric. KSL-TV previously revealed that Kouri withdrew $250,000 from a home equity line of credit on a home Eric owned before they got married.
Court documents also claim she withdrew $100,000 from Eric’s bank account and spent $30,000 on his credit cards. She also allegedly owed around $134,346 in taxes. After this, Eric consulted a divorce lawyer and estate planning lawyer in Oct. 2020 without his wife’s knowledge.
Other details have emerged since her arrest, as revealed by KPCW. Eric’s mother and grandmother set up two retirement accounts for Eric, from which Kouri allegedly withdrew the entire $55,000. Kouri is also accused of taking $200,000 from Eric’s safe after his death, and the $25,000 on his person.
The lawsuit continues, claiming Kouri lied to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about how Eric’s Can-Am ATV was a gift to her from him, that he didn’t have a personal representative, and that his estate didn’t exceed $100,000, KPCW says. However, the family disputes this by saying Eric was making upwards of $1 million a year from his business. Kouri allegedly did the same with other vehicles Eric owned before his death.
Eric’s family is going after Kouri’s business, Kouri Richens Realty (KRR), KPCW says. The business held a deed to a Francis’ Frontier Cottages neighborhood home until last week, when Kouri’s brother transferred the property ownership back to their mother.
The lawsuit documents, obtained by KPCW, state that Kouri started KRR on April 26, 2019, in order to “facilitate her business of buying and selling (flipping) houses.” They further allege that Kouri was stealing money from Eric to “help infuse” KRR with more funds and alleviate her other financial issues.
“By the end of 2021, KRR was approximately $6,000,000 in debt, and KRR’s bank account was overdrawn by approximately $22,000,” the documents claim, adding that Kouri allegedly paid thousands of dollars a day to pay her debts and overdraft fees.
Kouri is accused of wrongfully taking what the documents call “Other Estate Property,” which includes “contents of Eric’s safe; theater room furniture, an electric motorcycle, a flatbed trailer, and other personal items,” valued at about $300,000. She allegedly moved some of these funds into her business, as well.
“As of February 2022, Kouri or her business owed at least $1,800,000 to hard money lenders, and in the days prior to Eric’s death, she had at least seven phone calls with one or more of those lenders,” the documents continue.
The lawsuit called the transfer of ownership on the Darden home a “sham” and allege the family “jointly devised a scheme to siphon assets from [KRR] so as to hinder, delay, and defraud” them.
Lisa Darden, Kouri’s mother, said the home was always hers, not her daughter’s, and the transfer ensured the books would reflect this, KPCW says. The lawsuit from Eric’s family claims this transfer of ownership wasn’t valid and is part of a civil conspiracy.
“It was totally legit. I just removed Kouri’s name off of my home,” Lisa claimed, adding that Eric’s family is “strictly out for money.”
Ronney Darden, Kouri’s brother, has been appointed the authorized representative of the business and the state of attorney since Kouri has been incarcerated, KPCW says. The transfer was completed through him. He doesn’t believe Eric’s sister, the power of attorney over the deceased’s estate, should be pursuing the house as an asset in the lawsuit.
“She's trying to take that away from her. And it's simply just because she and—unfortunately, that whole side of the family—is very narcissistic and greedy,” Ronney said.
Greg Skordas, the attorney representing Eric’s family, called the claims of greed “pathetic,” KPCW says.
Kouri was denied bail last month and remains in prison, charged with three counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and one charge of first-degree aggravated murder, KPCW says.