An elder, Heinz Sommerfeld died in June 2017 at age 77 in a GTA nursing home, the lifelong bachelor — he had no children — left no instructions on how to distribute his wealth.
Sommerfeld worked for Ontario’s Department of Highways and left behind an estate valued at $800,000.
Based on the law, the money should have gone to his rightful heir, his younger half-brother. Instead, the money went to a Toronto police officer who had allegedly submitted a fake will claiming he was the beneficiary. The officer — veteran Const. Robert Konashewych, 38 — was aided by a senior client representative at the province’s Office of the Public Trustee and Guardian.
The office is responsible for tracking down rightful heirs and determines who inherits property or money when a person dies without a will.
Konashewych is charged with defrauding the estate belonging to Sommerfeld, along with defrauding his brother, Peter Stelter, now 75. The officer remains on paid suspension as required under the Police Services Act.
A government employee, Adellene Balgobin, 34 is also charged. Police said the pair were “known to each other prior to the alleged offences taking place.”
Toronto police said that, Konashewych “swore and filed a false affidavit with the courts, supporting his claim that he was the beneficiary of the will.” In 2018, the officer received payments in excess of $800,000, police said last year.
Konashewych is also charged with obstruction of justice and breach of trust relating to the allegation that on Oct. 7, 2019, he swore and filed a false affidavit during an unrelated family court proceeding. His lawyer, Peter Brauti, could not be reached for comment Monday. Balgobin is represented by Juliana Greenspan who did not respond to a request for comment.
The case has been ongoing for the last 13 months. On Tuesday, a preliminary hearing will finally get underway to determine if there’s enough evidence for a trial. A publication ban will be in effect on evidence presented at the hearing.
In an email to the Star on Monday, Stelter’s wife, Gail Stelter, emailed the Star saying her husband wants to remain “in the background” and would not be commenting. She added did say that Konashewych is “in no way related” to Heinz Sommerfeld.
Four-and-a-half years after his brother’s death, Stelter has still not received money from Sommerfeld’s estate. The matter has been “unsettling” for the Stelters, Gail Stelter wrote.
Peter Stelter and his brother were close growing up and lived with their mother, Erna Sommerfeld, after moving from Germany to the Toronto area. In later years, Sommerfeld brought their mother to birthday celebrations for the Stelter’s kids. She died in 2005, according to a newspaper death notice.
A public trustee official tracked and notified Peter Stelter that he was entitled to collect the estate in 2017 after Sommerfeld passed.
When Stelter called the trustee office back, he was told a will had surfaced and that he should no longer expect any money.
The Stelters moved on, not thinking much of it, until they were later contacted by Toronto police in two years later. Investigators discovered that there was something wrong with the Sommerfeld will, and in the summer of 2020 the service announced they’d arrested a Toronto police officer and a government worker.
This article was originally sourced by www.thestar.com.