Toledo trio indicted for forging will, stealing from $2.2M estate
TOLEDO, Ohio -- T
hree Toledo residents have been arrested for their part in cheating their way to gain control of a more than $2.2 million estate.
Susan Pioch, 58; Maragaret McKnight, 40; and Kurt Mallory, 51, each face one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud, 21 counts of bank fraud, seven counts of mail fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and additional counts of money laundering.
Federal investigators allege the trio conspired to forge a will to fraudulently gain control of the $2.2 million estate of Martin E. Fewlas.
"This group lied, cheated and stole millions of dollars that had been amassed over a lifetime," said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
McKnight faces additional counts of structuring cash withdrawals, three tax counts, and seven counts of causing a financial institution to fail to file a required report.
According to a federal indictment, Fewlas executed a will in 1993 which devised his entire estate to family. After he died in 2010, Mallory and McKnight, the upstairs tenants of his 2557 Broadway Street duplex, forged a new will in Fewlas' name. That will was drafted an filed by Pioch with the Lucas County Probate Court.
Fewlas lived in the lower level of his Broadway Street duplex for about 10 years. He died in August of 2010.
McKnight was named executor of the estate and the trio succeeded in obtaining court authority to take possession of Fewlas' assets. Among the items purchased with the fraudulently-obtained assets were a used car dealership, Discovery motorhome, classic 1972 Chevrolet El Camino, Kia Soul, and property. More than half a million dollars in cash was also withdrawn.
Fewlas' family, who were to receive all of his estate, received nothing, according to the indictment.
"When you knowingly mix deceit and trickery into the financial well-being of individuals, you create a recipe for devastation that could last a lifetime," said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.
Pioch, Mallory, and McKnight are expected to face trial. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gene Crawford and James V. Moroney following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations and the Toledo Police Department.