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The hidden billionaire

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

The fourth richest woman in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, never even made the list of the richest individuals until this week. Elaine Tettemer Marshall, 70, is the daughter-in-law of the deceased business magnate J. Howard Marshall. Incidentally, that also makes her the daughter-in-law of the infamous Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith, who married J. Howard Marshall in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. He died a year later.

She didn't inherit her husband's fortune, but her 70-year-old daughter-in-law did.

Smith died in 2007 from a prescription drug overdose after unsuccessfully fighting a legal battle to win an inheritance from her late husband's estate. You begin to get an idea of why Elaine Marshall and her husband Pierce, heir to the Marshall fortune, kept a low profile.

Elaine Marshall inherited $12.7 billion following the death of her husband in 2006. Her wealth comes from a 15 percent stake in Koch Industries, the second-largest closely held company in the U.S., according to Bloomberg. She shows up at No. 69 on the list of 100 billionaires; the fourth richest woman after the two heiresses to the Wal-Mart fortune, Alice and Christy Walton, and Jacqueline Mars, beneficiary of the Mars candy company.

Bloomberg told ABC News that they uncovered Elaine Marshall's wealth when they took a deeper look into the identity of the minority owner of Koch Industries. As for Marshall, she is sticking to a low profile and not making any public announcements.

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1 Comment
September 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Interesting how somebody that rich can stay uncovered. She is not the only one. If you are using a good family office they are able to structure your wealth in such away that you in most cases keep your full privacy. More on this you find on Switzerland-family-office.com . Privacy is such a big issue for the wealthy, I can imagine that she will not be happy now to pop up in the list.