CAMDEN, Ark. — A south Arkansas woman and her daughter have pleaded guilty to federal crimes involving a fake will for a survivor of an oil rig explosion who later died in a car crash.
Donna Herring pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in El Dorado to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Her daughter, Jordan Alexandra “Alex” Peterson, pleaded guilty Thursday to making a false statement to the FBI, Arkansas Business reported .
Herring said she created a fake will after Matthew Seth Jacobs died in a one-vehicle wreck in January 2015. Jacobs survived the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
The will left nearly all of Jacobs’ $1.7 million in assets to Peterson instead of to Jacobs’ son, Jordan Jacobs. But a draft of Jacobs’ will gave even less to his son than the fake one, according to Herring.
Herring said she discovered the draft at Jacobs’ house that left “everything” to her daughter, with whom Jacobs had a romantic relationship. She said she created the fake one so Jacobs’ son wouldn’t be “left completely out,” according to court documents.
Most of the assets of Jacobs’ estate were distributed to Peterson after the will was filed in March 2015. Jordan Jacobs received more than $300,000. But the fake will was thrown out in the probate case last year, paving the way for Jordan to receive his father’s estate.
Peterson told FBI agents she no longer had Jacobs’ cellphone in July 2016 and didn’t know where it was. But the statement was false because Peterson hid the phone in a safe, according to her plea agreement.
Herring faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She also agreed to forfeit a car she received from the proceeds of Jacobs’ estate. Peterson faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A sentencing date hasn’t been set in either case.
Information from: Arkansas Business, http://www.arkansasbusiness.com