A once-successful lawyer has been ordered to pay his ex-wife $4.2 million, but his odds of paying up soon do not look good -- he has sat in jail for nearly a decade insisting he does not have the money.

H. Beatty Chadwick, who has been jailed on a civil contempt charge longer than anyone else in state history, said the money the court is ordering him to pay was lost in a failed investment. But the judge who sent him to jail in 1995 found that he had hidden his wealth in overseas bank accounts rather than allow his ex-wife to get it.

A series of judges have found him in contempt of court, and the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from him last year.

Chadwick, of Philadelphia's tony Main Line suburbs, previously had been ordered to turn over to the court an investment believed to be worth $2.5 million.

Unconvinced by Chadwick's contention that the money does not exist, a judge in October ordered him to pay Barbara Jean Crowther Chadwick $4.2 million. The total includes a 50 percent share of the couple's marital assets, plus $1.4 million in legal fees and overdue alimony.

Beatty Chadwick's attorney, Michael Malloy, said his client's once-substantial wealth is all but gone.

"This money is like the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It seems like it should be there, but it isn't there," Malloy said. "We are the Saddam Hussein of the marital world."

Earlier this year, the court appointed a former county judge as a special investigator who will try to locate the missing money. The judge has been working with a team of forensic examiners but has yet to issue a report.