May 20, 2024

Florence, South Carolina


In March of 2023, South Carolina Attorney Gary Crawford (shown at left) drove to work, and according to police records, he killed himself in the parking lot of his office.

Late South Carolina Attorney Gary Crawford

Crawford’s premature end has become the beginning of a multi-million dollar estate-fraud case recently filed in South Carolina’s courts. 

Theft, forgery, and embezzlement are criminal acts in all states, but the estate theft case is based in a 66-point civil suit filed by by the Hanna family of Florence, South Carolina.  According to the suit,  Crawford was paid to create the estate plan for Carlos and Georgia (called “Jo”) Hanna. When Carlos died, Crawford was sworn in by the county court to serve as the administrator of the estate plan that he had created for Carlos and Jo. 

Carlos Hanna was a successful businessman who owned a company called Coastal Sanitary Supply. Carlos worked for decades taking a modest business and patiently building it into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Carlos and Jo had two children, Craig and Bradley Hanna. Before his death, Carlos and Jo paid attorney Gary Crawford to produce an estate plan. The estate work done by Crawford included a succession plan for the business, Coastal Sanitary Supply. 

In December of 2010, Carlos died..


According to the suit, Carlo’s estate was opened in February of 2011 by Jo Hanna, who was named the “personal representative” (also called the “administrator” or “executor”) of Carlo’s estate. Jo was the prime beneficiary of Carlo’s estate. 

To help her navigate the legal and financial waters of the process, Jo hired attorney Gary Crawford.  Crawford had been paid to write the estate plan for Carlos and Jo Hanna and then was paid to implement the plan he had written.


But that’s not what happened, according to the suit. 

The complaint claims that the  Last Will and Testament of Carlos Hanna stated that any assets “disclaimed” (surrenders, releases or says “I don’t want these assets”)  by his wife “Jo” would be put in a trust. The assets in that trust would benefit “Jo” during her lifetime, but when “Jo” died, the assets held in the trust would be split equally between the two children, Bradley and Craig.

According to the complaint, “Jo” told attorney Crawford that she “immediately disclaimed her inheritance with regards to the ownership and control of Coastal Sanitary Supply Co.”

This “disclaiming” of the business meant that the business, Coastal Sanitary Supply, would be retitled into the trust that Crawford was to create. 

But he didn’t. According to the suit, 


The suit echoes stories of family jealousy and greed that date back to the biblical tale in Genesis, where Jacob deceived his father to steal the inheritance of his brother, Esau.

The complaint states that Crawford (and his wife Becky) worked to defraud Craig Hanna of his inheritance. Instead of placing the business into the trust as directed by the will, the Crawfords worked to give Craig Hanna’s inheritance to his brother, Bradley Hanna. Specifically: 

“Defendant Bradley Hanna illegally took immediate possession and control of Coastal Sanitary Supply Co. in violation of the specific instructions in the Last Will and Testament of Carlos Hanna.” According to the complaint, this transfer of ownership to Bradley was done with the aid, knowledge and support of attorney Crawford.

In legal terms this is white collar crime called “fraudulent conversion” or wrongfully transferring ownership of assets away from the rightful owner to someone else. Fraudulent conversion can be as simple as someone taking another person’s credit card without permission, and as complex as recording a false deed or survey to transfer ownership of real estate away from its legitimate owner.

In addition to concealing material legal, accounting and tax documents from Craig Hanna, the complaint claims that Crawford and his wife Becky, teamed up with Bradley Hanna and his wife Cassie Hanna to target their elderly mother, Jo.

Player’s  complaint states that Crawford used his position of authority to apply “undue influence and deception to convert nearly all assets in the name of Carlos Hanna and Georgia Hanna to Defendants Bradley and Cassie Hanna.”


Fraud cases can take years to be discovered and prosecuted. While the Hanna case is rooted in the county courts of South Carolina, the issues involved are important to every family with a trust and estate in the USA. 

Though the legal complaint is in its early days, the case involves billing fraud, accounting fraud, tax fraud, real estate theft, obstruction, criminal prosecution, bar and judicial oversight, transparency, insurance regulations and civil rights and elder abuse issues.

Look for updates as the case evolves.

About Edmund Burke 116 Articles
Volunteers working to help people spot, stop and recover from fraud and corruption in probate, trusts, estates & guardianships.