The judge decided that Michael Vilkin was trying to shield an asset.
“The Court grants Plaintiff’s request to set aside the transfer of the property from Mr. Vilkin to Mrs. Vilkin,” a superior court judge wrote in a judgment published last week.
Evidence photo showing boundaries of Vilkin's property
The court’s decision appears to conclude one civil suit that was filed by three children of John Upton, after the man was shot dead by Michael Vilkin two years ago.
On March 16, San Diego superior court judge Earl H. Maas III heard a “bench trial” (he considered evidence and there was no jury). Tamara Vilkin, the former wife of Michael Vilkin was present and spoke to the court; the Vilkins were not represented by an attorney. Michael Vilkin was not present for the one-day trial; he remains in jail after a judge sentenced him to 64 years to life for the murder.
The shooting death of John Upton happened in March 2013 and three months later, on June 3, 2013, a wrongful death action was filed by plaintiffs John Upton III, Elizabeth Upton Vaca, and James Upton.
In his remarks published last week, Judge Maas noticed that it was just days after Michael Vilkin was informed of the “wrongful death action” against him that he signed a quit-claim deed, transferring ownership of his Encinitas property to his then-wife, Tamara.
“The quit-claim deed was not signed until after the notice of pending lawsuit, and there is no persuasive evidence to establish it was anything other than an attempt to shield a significant asset from the potential claims of the plaintiffs herein,” Maas stated.
Michael and Tamara Vilkin were officially “divorced” on December 30, 2013, according to Maas.
As part of his decision, the judge ordered that the former Vilkin property should now be “held in constructive trust for the benefit of Plaintiffs until and if there is a judgment in the wrongful death matter.”