A lawyer who lost her license to practice law four years ago now faces criminal charges in connection with the same case, in which she is accused of posing online and in letters as a client who had died in order to bilk his estate.
Linda Ann Brost, 61, of Spooner, Wis., and St. Paul, faces two counts of theft by swindle, two counts of identity theft, and one count each of aggravated forgery of a document and insurance fraud.
She swindled $46,769 from the estate of Arthur Fischbach, who died Sept. 11, 2005, according to a complaint filed Monday in Ramsey County District Court.
In May 2007, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, which oversees attorneys statewide, began investigating and learned that in September 2005, around the date Fischbach died, Brost altered the date on her dead husband’s expired notary stamp and forged his signature to notarize her own signature on a certificate of trust prepared for Fischbach.
After he died, she presented the fraudulently notarized document to BankCherokee in a failed effort to access Fischbach’s funds, which totaled about $140,000, the complaint said. She didn’t get that money, but she didn’t give up.
“Even after her failed attempt to access Fischbach’s funds from BankCherokee, Brost obtained more than $46,000 from Jackson National Life Insurance Company by making material false statements, false representations and stealing the identity of Fischbach,” the complaint said. In March 2009, after learning of these events, the Minnesota Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Brost from practicing law. Brost allegedly set up an e-mail account in Fischbach’s name and had his mail redirected to a house she owns in St. Paul. She also opened a checking account in his name in February 2011, six years after his death, and wrote letters purportedly from him as she tried to tap his money, authorities said.