Couple arrested in Norristown for fraud, criminal conspiracy

A husband and wife were arrested in Norristown and awaiting trial in Montgomery County on multiple charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery, fraud and false swearing in connection with a forged will. Originally from another state, they were investigated and interviewed by an insurance fraud task force officer when they reportedly admitted to signing witness to a friend's will months after he died. According to authorities, the couple willingly participated in the scheme developed by the man's widow.

The supposed forged will was admitted to probate court in 2007 and included the bequeathing of a home, several valuable antiques and other assets. The decedent and his wife had only been married for about 18 months before his natural, but untimely death. According to her, he wrote a letter naming his wife as his beneficiary two months before he died. The Pennsylvania couple testified numerous times that they actually witnessed the man sign his will and the letter.

Their story has changed drastically over the last five years. Perhaps under duress or pressure from authorities, the couple did a complete reversal of their original story. They have also stated they had no idea the document was a forgery.

Dealing with emotions and a grieving widow after the shocking death of a new spouse, they said they agreed to sign it simply to help their friend in her time of need. Since they are first-time offenders, they may be eligible for an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, enabling them to avoid jail and eventually clear their name.

The couple was released on bond after their arraignment. Their pretrial conference is scheduled in the Norristown courthouse next month.

Source: examiner.com, "Local couple arrested on charges of forgery, fraud and conspiracy," Shirley Sanservino, March 3, 2012

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