Monday, April 17, 2017

Two Tenants, Lawyer Get Multi-Year Prison Terms For Roles In Using Forged Will To Steal Dead Landlord's House, Other Assets; Loss Estimated At Approx. $2.2 Million

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Toledo, Ohio):
  • Three Toledo residents were sentenced to prison for forging a will to fraudulently gain control of an estate worth approximately $2.2 million, said Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja and [others].

    Susan M. Pioch [attorney], 60, was sentenced to more than nine years in prison.

    Kurt L. Mallory, 53, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

    Margaret L. McKnight, 42, was sentenced to four years in prison.

    All three were convicted last year following a jury trial of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud, 21 counts of bank fraud, seven counts of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Pioch, McKnight and Mallory were convicted on additional counts of money laundering. McKnight was convicted on an additional count of structuring cash withdrawals, three tax counts and seven counts of causing a financial institution to fail to file a required report.
    ***
    Martin E. Fewlas executed a will in 1993 devising his entire estate to his brother. If his brother did not survive Fewlas, the estate was to go to his nephew and then his great-nephew, identified in the indictment as JRM.

    Fewlas owned the duplex located at 2557 Broadway Street in Toledo. He lived in the lower half and for approximately 10 years, McKnight and Mallory lived together in the upper half, according to court documents.

    Fewlas died on Aug. 28, 2010, leaving an estate worth approximately $2.2 million. On Sept. 2, 2010, McKnight, Mallory and Pioch – an attorney who had previously done legal work for McKnight and Mallory forged a will in Fewlas’ name. The forged will was drafted by Pioch and named McKnight as the executor and sole devisee of Fewlas’ assets. Pioch filed the forged will with the Lucas County Probate Court on or around Sept. 2, 2010. McKnight identified herself as executor of the estate and Pioch identified herself as attorney for the executor in probate court documents, according to court documents.

    By filing the forged will and concealing its fraudulent nature, Pioch, McKnight and Mallory succeeded in obtaining Probate Court authority to take possession of Fewlas’ assets. After obtaining those assets, they disbursed the assets to themselves for their own enrichment, according to court documents.
    ***
    JRM, Fewlas’ great nephew and the sole remaining devisee from the 1993 will, received nothing, according to the indictment.

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