Three Houston residents allege their relative's best friend took advantage of his illiteracy and deprived his children of their inheritance money.

Christopher E. Haynes, Charles Haynes and Ella Haynes filed a lawsuit Sept. 8 in Galveston County District Court against Tyrone Smith and Sam Collins. 

In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege Tyrone Smith had hired Collins as his financial adviser and stockbroker. Joe Mack Haynes, an illiterate man, also chose to hire Collins for financial help, according to the complaint. Collins was friends with Smith, the suit states.

"Defendants conspired and colluded to deprive plaintiffs of their inheritance right by exercising undue influence over decedent by having him sign documents, which left upon death on all his non-probate assets, to defendant Tyrone, when decedent passed, by setting up his financial accounts with pass by survivorship or payable on death, depriving his natural heirs, plaintiffs, of any inheritance," the complaint says.

As a result, the plaintiffs lost their right to inheritance money, they allege.

They seek damages within the jurisdictional limits of the court, plus pre-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Attorney Donald G. LeGrand Jr., of Texas City, will represent them.

Galveston County District Court case number: 14-CV-953

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at Galveston County District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and it represents only one side of the story.

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