This Ontario man died without a will. A Toronto police officer is charged with stealing his $800,000 estate

When Heinz Sommerfeld died in June 2017 at age 77 in a GTA nursing home, the lifelong bachelor — he had no children — left no instructions on how to distribute his wealth.After working his entire adult life for Ontario’s Department of Highways, Sommerfeld left behind an estate valued at $800,000.But rather than that money going to his rightful heir, a younger half-brother, it ended up in a bank account belonging to a Toronto police officer who had allegedly submitted a fake will claiming he was the beneficiary. According to investigators, that officer — veteran Const. Robert Konashewych, 38 — was aided by a senior client representative at the province’s Office of the Public Trustee and Guardian.The office is responsible for tracking down rightful heirs and determines who inherits property or money when a person dies without a will.Konashewych is charged with defrauding the estate belonging to Sommerfeld, along with defrauding his brother, Peter Stelter, now 75. The 52 Division officer remains on paid suspension as required under the Police Services Act. Also charged is the government employee, Adellene Balgobin, 34. At the time of their arrest, police said the pair were “known to each other prior to the alleged offences taking place.”According to Toronto police professional standards office, Konashewych “swore and filed a false affidavit with the courts, supporting his claim that he was the beneficiary of the will.” In 2018, the officer received payments in excess of $800,000, police said last year.Konashewych is also charged with obstruction of justice and breach of trust relating to the allegation that on Oct. 7, 2019, he swore and filed a false affidavit during an unrelated family court proceeding. His lawyer, Peter Brauti, could not be reached for comment Monday. Balgobin is represented by Juliana Greenspan who did not respond to a request for comment.The case has crawled through the court system over the last 13 months. On Tuesday, a preliminary hearing will finally get underway to determine if there’s enough evidence for a trial. An automatic publication ban will be in effect on evidence presented at the hearing this week.In an email to the Star on Monday, Stelter’s wife, Gail Stelter, said her husband wants to remain “in the background” and would not be commenting. She added, however, that Konashewych is “in no way related” to Heinz Sommerfeld.Four-and-a-half years after his brother’s death, Stelter has still not collected a dime from Sommerfeld’s estate, and it’s not clear if and when that may happen. The matter has been “unsettling” for the Stelters, Gail Stelter wrote.While they had not seen a lot of each other in the years leading up to Sommerfeld’s death, Peter Stelter and his brother were close as teens growing up with their mother, Erna Sommerfeld, after moving from Germany to the Toronto area. In later years, Sommerfeld brought their mother to birthday celebrations for the Stelter’s kids. She died in 2005, according to a newspaper death notice.After Sommerfeld’s 2017 death, a public trustee official tracked and notified Peter Stelter that he was entitled to collect the estate.But when Stelter called the trustee office back to ensure he had the official’s contact number, he was told a will had surfaced, and that he should no longer expect a dime.The Stelters moved on, until they were later contacted by Toronto police in 2019. Investigators had received a tip that something was amiss with the Sommerfeld will, and in the summer of 2020 the service announced they’d arrested a Toronto police officer and a the government worker.The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee is part of the Ministry of the Attorney General. A ministry spokesperson did not immediately respond to comment about the case, nor answer questions about what safeguards are in place to protect estates administered by the OPGT.Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy

This Ontario man died without a will. A Toronto police officer is charged with stealing his $800,000 estate

When Heinz Sommerfeld died in June 2017 at age 77 in a GTA nursing home, the lifelong bachelor — he had no children — left no instructions on how to distribute his wealth.

After working his entire adult life for Ontario’s Department of Highways, Sommerfeld left behind an estate valued at $800,000.

But rather than that money going to his rightful heir, a younger half-brother, it ended up in a bank account belonging to a Toronto police officer who had allegedly submitted a fake will claiming he was the beneficiary. According to investigators, that officer — veteran Const. Robert Konashewych, 38 — was aided by a senior client representative at the province’s Office of the Public Trustee and Guardian.

The office is responsible for tracking down rightful heirs and determines who inherits property or money when a person dies without a will.

Konashewych is charged with defrauding the estate belonging to Sommerfeld, along with defrauding his brother, Peter Stelter, now 75. The 52 Division officer remains on paid suspension as required under the Police Services Act. Also charged is the government employee, Adellene Balgobin, 34. At the time of their arrest, police said the pair were “known to each other prior to the alleged offences taking place.”

According to Toronto police professional standards office, Konashewych “swore and filed a false affidavit with the courts, supporting his claim that he was the beneficiary of the will.” In 2018, the officer received payments in excess of $800,000, police said last year.

Konashewych is also charged with obstruction of justice and breach of trust relating to the allegation that on Oct. 7, 2019, he swore and filed a false affidavit during an unrelated family court proceeding. His lawyer, Peter Brauti, could not be reached for comment Monday. Balgobin is represented by Juliana Greenspan who did not respond to a request for comment.

The case has crawled through the court system over the last 13 months. On Tuesday, a preliminary hearing will finally get underway to determine if there’s enough evidence for a trial. An automatic publication ban will be in effect on evidence presented at the hearing this week.

In an email to the Star on Monday, Stelter’s wife, Gail Stelter, said her husband wants to remain “in the background” and would not be commenting.

She added, however, that Konashewych is “in no way related” to Heinz Sommerfeld.

Four-and-a-half years after his brother’s death, Stelter has still not collected a dime from Sommerfeld’s estate, and it’s not clear if and when that may happen. The matter has been “unsettling” for the Stelters, Gail Stelter wrote.

While they had not seen a lot of each other in the years leading up to Sommerfeld’s death, Peter Stelter and his brother were close as teens growing up with their mother, Erna Sommerfeld, after moving from Germany to the Toronto area. In later years, Sommerfeld brought their mother to birthday celebrations for the Stelter’s kids. She died in 2005, according to a newspaper death notice.

After Sommerfeld’s 2017 death, a public trustee official tracked and notified Peter Stelter that he was entitled to collect the estate.

But when Stelter called the trustee office back to ensure he had the official’s contact number, he was told a will had surfaced, and that he should no longer expect a dime.

The Stelters moved on, until they were later contacted by Toronto police in 2019. Investigators had received a tip that something was amiss with the Sommerfeld will, and in the summer of 2020 the service announced they’d arrested a Toronto police officer and a the government worker.

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee is part of the Ministry of the Attorney General. A ministry spokesperson did not immediately respond to comment about the case, nor answer questions about what safeguards are in place to protect estates administered by the OPGT.

Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy