By John Johnson
In one sense, the story by Katherine Laidlaw in Toronto Life recounts a straightforward, depressing crime: When an elderly man with dementia died without a will and seemingly without relatives, a couple successfully schemed to illegally obtain his estate of more than $800,000. They pulled it off because Adellene Balgobin, now 36, worked for the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee service and fudged paperwork to suggest that her boyfriend, police officer Robert Konashewych, 39, was the dead man’s longtime friend and thus entitled to the money. When a long-lost half brother of the dead man was located by authorities, the pair cooked up a phony will and were able to keep the money that rightfully should have gone to the half brother.
Where the story takes a twist is in how the crime unraveled. Konashewych, who had mountains of debt, had been living a second life with live-in girlfriend Candice Dixon. Balgobin knew about Dixon, but Dixon didn’t know about Balgobin. She finally found out about his affair, however, thanks to a chance encounter and asked him to move out. The split wasn’t amicable, and when mail about the dead man’s estate began arriving at her residence for Konashewych, she grew suspicious and started looking into the situation with the help of her lawyer. She eventually connected with the dead man’s half brother. The upshot is that Konashewych and Balgobin were convicted of fraud this summer and now await sentencing. Prosecutors want at least eight years. And the half brother is finally getting his money.