White-Collar Crime

Suspended lawyer is charged with impersonating dead client, in order to bilk his estate

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A suspended Minnesota attorney has been criminally charged with impersonating a deceased client in order to bilk his estate.

Linda Ann Brost is charged in Ramsey County District Court with identity theft, theft by swindle, aggravated forgery of a document and insurance fraud, the Star Tribune reports. Her license to practice law was indefinitely suspended four years ago.

Licensed since 1987, Brost reportedly drafted a will for Arthur Fischbach in 1993 and made a change to it, at his request, in 1995. It was supposed to give most of his money to charity along with gifts of $10,000 to two friends.

But after Fischbach died in 2005, Brost allegedly tried, without success, to obtain $140,000 from his bank account. She allegedly presented the bank with a purported certificate of trust, naming her as trustee, the newspaper reports. On the document, authorities say, Brost’s signature is “notarized” with an expired notary stamp that belonged to the lawyer’s deceased husband, on which the date had been altered.

Brost was more successful with an insurance company, obtaining more than $46,000 by posing as her client, the criminal complaint says. She set up email and checking accounts in Fischbach’s name and directed his U.S. mail to a house she owns, according to the charges.

The lawyer “knowingly and intentionally devised a scheme and artifice to surreptitiously avoid reporting the existence of Fischbach’s two annuities to the Fishbach Estate, the Office of Lawyer’s Professional Responsibility or the Second Judicial District Court,” the complaint states.

The article doesn’t include any comment from Brost or her counsel.

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