Will fraud results in jail sentence for former tribual judge
A recent story from Nottingham, England is a shocking story of will fraud and power of attorney abuse by a former tribunal Judge. According to the original story, the perpetrators are former solicitor and tribunal Judge, Mrs. Margaret Hampshire, and her builder husband, Mr. Alan Hampshire.
The will fraud involved Mr. Martin Blanche, an illiterate man who passed away in 2007. Mr. and Mrs. Hampshire forged his will so that he left a cottage to Mrs. Hampshire’s cousin Josephine Burroughs. Ms. Burroughs was also related to Mr. Blanche. Mrs. Hampshire then used a power of attorney to transfer the property to her daughter. A power of attorney was also used to take £23,000 from an account belonging to Ms. Burroughs. These funds were spent on converting the cottage and neighboring property to a large house. Mr. and Mrs. Hampshire then moved into the newly renovated house.
This matter went to Court and a trial took place in November of 2016. Mrs. Hampshire eventually admitted fraud and two counts of forgery. Mr. Hampshire pleaded guilty to forgery and two counts of theft.
Will fraud and power of attorney abuse are serious problems
In sentencing Mrs. and Mr. Hampshire, Justice Gregory Dickinson stated that Mrs. Hampshire abused her knowledge and experienced as a solicitor. He also stated that the offences took place at time while she held judicial office making the offences all the more “shameful and astonishing”.
Mrs. Hampshire, 69, and Mr. Hampshire, 67, were given six month jail sentences. A hearing will be held in 2017 to determine if they will have to pay compensation. Given the tone of the verdict of Justice Gregory Dickinson, it will be interesting to see what is ordered with respect to compensation.
The above scenario is a particularly disturbing example of will fraud and power of attorney abuse. A power of attorney can be used to gain access and siphon away funds and property from an unsuspecting grantor. Many people who grant powers of attorney do not fully understand the legal and practical consequences. If you suspect you or someone you know is a victim of will fraud or power of attorney abuse, it is important to seek legal advice immediately.
More on the story of the Hampshires here.