In Napa County, California, the St. Helena Star reports:
- A Napa man has pleaded no contest to swindling his siblings out of about $200,000. Stephen Beal Berg, 67, was named as executor in his mother’s trust after she died Aug. 5, 2006, leaving her property to Berg and his four siblings, according to the Napa County district attorney’s office. Her home [...] was the most valuable of her assets, prosecutors said. In the summer of 2007, Berg told his siblings the home would go into foreclosure if he didn’t buy it from the trust. They agreed to allow him to take possession of the home, refinance the loan and distribute the remaining cash among the siblings, prosecutors said.
- Berg paid off the existing loans with an adjustable rate mortgage from Countrywide Financial Corp. and borrowed an additional $221,000 based on the home’s equity, they said. Instead of dividing the cash between his siblings, he kept it for himself, prosecutors said. In addition, he was renting the home to others and keeping the payments, Deputy District Attorney Michael Mautner said. Berg stopped making payments on the home, which went into foreclosure in November 2009, according to the DA’s office. Area probate counsel and the siblings brought the case to the Napa Police Department, which launched an investigation in September. The district attorney’s office filed charges early this year.
For the story, see Napa man took $200,000 from family.