Mum jailed for $2M fake will rip-off
A 65-YEAR-OLD woman will spend two years behind bars after she defrauded a widow of $140,000 and forged her will to gain a $2 million hinterland estate.
In 2008 Lynette Anne Filmer began caring for Margaret Fitchew, a widow who became incapacitated after a car accident.
Filmer and her family moved into one of Mrs Fitchew's Dulong properties where they ran cattle.
Crown prosecutor Katherine Milbourne told a court Filmer began withdrawing money from the woman's accounts within months.
She forged Mrs Fitchew's signature on 49 withdrawal slips and 17 letters of authority between March 2009 and October 2013.
The total amount withdrawn from the woman's account was $139, 350.
Filmer then forged a will in Mrs Fitchew's name in 2011 that purported to leave the majority of a $2 million Dulong estate to Filmer and her husband.
When Mrs Fitchew died in 2013, a will created by a solicitor in 1998 was put before The Supreme Court of Queensland for probate and Filmer's forged will came to light.
"(a solicitor) organised for the hand writing and signatures of the 2011 will to be analysed and there were two reports that indicated it was the defendant rather than Ms Fitchew who had written and signed that will," Ms Milbourne said.
In 2016 the Supreme Court found the 1998 will to be Ms Fitchew's genuine will, purporting to leave the estate to her brother and stepchildren.
Filmer declined to be interviewed by police and indicated she would go to trial.
On the first day of trial in 2019 she changed her plea to guilty.
At Maroochydore District Court today Filmer confirmed her guilty plea to fraud over the value of $30,000, attempted fraud over $30,000 and forgery.
Judge Glen Cash said Filmer's forged will was "the kind of form people download from the internet" and fill out by hand.
"As opposed to the more formal and, dare I say, properly constructed wills one gets when they go to a solicitor," Mr Cash said.
Barrister Scott Lynch said Filmer was a dear friend to Mrs Fitchew.
"(The Filmer family) were the sole providers for her, assisting in terms of meals, doing absolutely everything for her for a significant period of time," Mr Lynch said.
"It's easy then to take a cynical view of that and say that was done for a purpose.
"There was no lavishness on the part of the prisoner and her husband- no gambling, no drinking, no expensive gifts, just a means of existing."
Mr Lynch said Filmer was now wheelchair bound, incontinent and morbidly obese.
He made submissions that prison time would be significantly more difficult for her.
Mr Cash said Filmer took advantage of the trust Mrs Fitchew placed in her.
" … in order to steal money from her and to attempt to gain the bulk of her estate," he said.
"There is little to be said by way of remorse in your part."
Mr Cash sentenced Filmer to six years imprisonment to serve two.
The convictions were recorded.