Police foil alleged fake will fraud in Latgale

It sounds like the plot of a classic nineteenth-century novel, but Latvian police say they are ready to bring to justice people involved in a plot to gain land via means of a forged will.

The Economic Crime Control Bureau of the State Police has handed a completed investigation over to the Prosecutor's Office in connection with land and forest scams in the eastern Latgale region, reported LSM's Latvian service.

On December 12, 2018, criminal proceedings were initiated against eight persons in connection with alleged unlawful acquisition of real estate. During the investigation, law enforcement officials found that in 2018 a group of people organized the production of a fake will, submitting it to a notary for real estate in Dagda County.

The owner of considerable real estate holdings died in 2001, leaving no heirs. The total area of ​​the property was 46.7 hectares, including 30.5 hectares of forest and 7.7 hectares of agricultural land.

The sworn notary settled the inheritance case apparently without noticing anything suspicious, as a result of which this group of persons unlawfully acquired the said real estate, in the process committing a fraud that cost the state around €175,000 in unpaid inheritance taxes, according to a police estimate.

The land was quickly sold on to a legitimate buyer who sent in the loggers to cut down the forest.

The criminal proceedings concern fraud, forgery of documents and the fraudulent making and use of false documents, knowingly making false statements or submissions to a notary, and money laundering. Police concluded their investigation on July 18.

In addition, two charges were filed against two public officials who helped the group obtain the information necessary for forging the will.

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