Five Greeks Charged In Killings-Inheritance Scam
ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Five people were arrested after allegedly killing four rich, elderly Greeks and drawing up fake wills to collect their money, police said.
The defendants were charged Wednesday with conspiracy and arms possession, a district attorney’s office spokesman said.
They were identified as Christos Papadopoulos, 49, a lawyer and former small-town mayor and the alleged ringleader; Giorgia Papanikolaou, 38, a housewife; Vassilis Plataniotis, 63, a court employee; Ioannis Pambris, 33, a construction worker; and Nikolaos Peppas, 55, a merchant, all from Athens.
The victims were killed after being forced to sign their names on a blank piece of paper, Athens Security Police Chief Andreas Kalogeras said Wednesday.
The signatures were used to forge wills that bequeathed property and money to the alleged killers’ friends and relatives, Kalogeras said.
Three of the victims, including a shipowner, were suffocated, and the fourth died from blows to the head with a hammer, he said.
″This case is not yet cleared up. We’re looking into three other similar incidents these people may be involved in,″ he told a news conference.
The five were arrested Sunday in a western Greek village where police said they had prepared graves for two more intended victims.
Kalogeras said three of the defendants confessed to the failed plan to kill 77-year-old Pantelis Pentazos and his wife, Dionysia, and later admitted to four killings between October 1985 and August 1986.
Among the victims was Harilaos Typaldos, an 84-year-old shipowner found dead of apparent heart failure last Aug. 7.
Police said Typaldos’ relatives had questioned his will, which left $13.5 million dollars to 135 people, only nine of whom were known to be friends or family.
In October 1985, the defendants allegedly suffocated 65-year-old Laoura Pantou and collected $82,000 from her heirs after forging papers for a loan in her name.
The other victims were identified as Elli Verriopoulou, 70, who allegedly was suffocated in December 1985, and Efrosyne Fragoulaki, 65, who died from hammer blows to the head in April 1986.