NewsRegionOakland County

Actions

Police report shows Aretha Franklin believed someone stole from her before her death

Posted at 7:51 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 19:51:25-05

(WXYZ) — As she battled the cancer that took her life Aretha Franklin told police someone was stealing her checks. Police investigated and came to suspect someone stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Queen of Soul.

WXYZ obtained a copy of the Bloomfield Township Police Department’s report on their investigation through a Freedom of Information Act Request.

It is hundreds of pages long. It says that Aretha Franklin realized in June she had not received a check she was expecting. She called to check in when it would come. She was told it had been cashed.

She had not been emptying her mail box often and told police she wondered if someone stole her mail to obtain the check. Police then investigated who cashed it.

It was a check for more than $16,000. Police reached out to a company that was given that check signed by someone. The company cooperated and told police, we actually have cashed other checks worth an additional $60 thousand made out to Aretha Franklin.

The company had received the checks from a Detroit party store using the checks to pay bills. That party store did not cooperate with police and told WXYZ to leave when we stopped in to ask questions.

Chase Bank then investigated suspicious activity in Franklin's account. It found a man appeared to be making fraudulent withdrawals totaling more than $175 thousand.

We found out he has a long criminal history. His attorney told us at this time he is not commenting.

We are not revealing his name because he is not charged yet. We asked Oakland County’s Chief Assistant Prosecutor why?

“Without Ms. Franklin being able to say yay or nay, she gave someone or didn’t give someone permission to cash the check, the case at this point stalls out,” said Paul Walton, Oakland County’s chief assistant prosecutor.

Walton says what happened remains suspicious. It is possible in time there could be charges if someone with authority to help Aretha handle her finances comes forward with information.