The money mistake that cost reality TV stars Heather and Terry Dubrow 'a couple of million dollars'

Heather & Terry Dubrow of 'RHOC' and 'Botched': Top money tips for couples
Key Points
  • Heather and Terry Dubrow say they were swindled out of $1.75 million in 2015.
  • The couple's accountant of over 20 years convinced them to invest in something "that turned out to be a scam," the Dubrows say.
  • Before selecting a CPA, "ask for a copy of their certification documents form the state," says Howard Samuels, a certified public accountant at Samuels & Associates.

Heather Dubrow, who stars on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Orange County," and her husband, Dr. Terry Dubrow, who stars on E!'s "Botched," say they were conned out $1.75 million in 2015.

"Terry ended up making an investment that turned out to be a scam and that really was our financial low. We ended up being swindled out of a couple of million dollars," Heather Dubrow told Grow.

Heather alleged on her podcast "Heather Dubrow's World" that the couple lost nearly $2 million after their accountant of over 20 years convinced the Dubrows to loan the money to a woman to invest in real estate. The Dubrows later discovered that the accountant wasn't certified, they add.

The couple learned many valuable lessons from the experience, and there's one that almost anyone can relate to: Do your research into whomever you're trusting with your money.

Do a background check on a potential accountant

Before selecting a CPA, "ask for a copy of their certification documents form the state," says Howard Samuels, a certified public accountant at Samuels & Associates in Florham Park, New Jersey. "People can contact the State Board of Accountancy where the individual obtained his or her license."

In order to get accurate information, "it is also important to know what state your CPA is certified in," Samuels says.

"Each CPA has a registered license number with the state, and typically the state has a directory where they can search by first and last name to verify that the CPA exists and that their license is in good standing," says certified public accountant Sheneya Wilson, the founder and CEO of Fola Financial.

Keep in mind, to prepare taxes, "the accountant does not need to be a CPA," Wilson says. "The IRS does certify tax professionals and an Enrolled Agent," she says, but "these professionals can also be verified via online directories.

Check a financial pro's references

"The biggest thing I tell people is references, references, references," says Samuels. "Look online, social media," and don't just take a friend's recommendation, he says.

Also, while some money matters may be an accountant's responsibility, "I always recommend that the taxpayers also invest time in learning the basics of business finances to overlook the work of certain experts," Wilson suggests.

What happened to the Dubrows is a very unfortunate situation, she adds. "I hate when people are taken advantage of by others they put trust in, especially someone who is supposed to have your finances covered."

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