Thursday, July 10, 2008

Grave Robber Exposed!

by Estate of Denial.Com

Longtime attorney pleads guilty to estate thefts Terry Stork faces up to life in prisonTony Plohetski ( June 28, 2008Austin American-Statesman longtime Austin attorney pleaded guilty Friday to stealing from the estates of three elderly women that he was in charge of overseeing after their deaths.

Terry Erwin Stork, 69, will be sentenced Aug. 13 on three felony theft charges. He faces up to life in prison on two of the charges and up to 20 years behind bars on the third.

He surrendered his law license to the State Bar of Texas last year.
Stork’s attorney, Joe James Sawyer, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Travis County Assistant District Attorney Patty Robertson declined to comment until the case is completed.

According to arrest affidavits and lawsuits filed in Austin courts, Stork systematically mismanaged or stole from the three estates worth more than $800,000 over two decades. Each time, an elderly woman with no living children had chosen him to divide her belongings among organizations and loved ones.

The records said Stork lived in the home of a deceased client from 1987 to 2002 and deposited money from the sale of the home into his own bank account.

In another case, according to records, he let the home of a client sit empty, drove the woman’s Buick LeSabre to disrepair and used her money to add to his rare china collection.

He was also accused of failing to pass along inheritances to people and organizations that were supposed to get them.

The American-Statesman reported on allegations against Stork in a December 2006 story about estate theft and how Texas probate laws often cannot guarantee that people’s belongings reach their family members or friends after they die.

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