This story probably ranks as the strangest case of real estate fraud report on the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
A common woman who changed her name in 1991 and passed herself off as coming from a wealthy European family that had bred horses for “1,000 years” lost the lawsuit brought against her and her physician husband, who admitted fraudulently signing her death certificate.
Dr. Brian Gwartz, an anesthesiologist, and his wife, Cheryl Skigin, an attorney, purchased the 15-acre Parlier ranch belonging to Genevieve de Montremare (real name: Genevieve Sanders) in 2008 for $2.3 million. Besides claiming to be French royalty, de Montremare held herself out to be a genetics expert in the high-end world of Friesen horse breeding and showing. The ranch she shared with her husband, Dr. Michael Weilert, a pathologist who is the director of Pathology & Clinical Laboratories for Community Regional Medical Centers, was often the site for horse shows and gatherings of the very-well-to-do in horse circles.
Weilert admitted during the trial that he had signed the death certificate for his wife in 2007 and writing an obituary, clearly an exercise in creative writing. His attorney Steven Paganetti offered no defense for Weilert’s deception.
The jury awarded Dr. Gwartz and his wife $700,000 in damages for the fraud committed against them by the plaintiffs and is now working on determining punitive damages. Their attorney is Daniel Spitzer.
Read the original article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News.
There is posting in April 2011 of Genevieve de Montremare, Dr. Michael Weilert and their bizarre life in the California Real Estate Fraud Report (click on the link).