Aretha Franklin’s Death Thwarts Police In Massive Theft Case

The late singer had around $200,000 stolen from her prior to her death.

Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

The late singer had around $200,000 stolen from her prior to her death.

When Aretha Franklin passed away, she was in the middle of a theft investigation. Franklin, a few months prior to her death, had reported to police that somebody had stolen around $200,000 from her bank accounts. While how the theft happened is still under investigation, it understandably made the singer upset.

Prior to her death in August, 2018, Franklin had a startling amount of her assets stolen from her bank, which was reported to the Detroit police initially in June, 2018. The police in Michigan began an investigation to discover who had stolen the “Queen of Soul’s” money.

According to TMZ, Franklin had stated somebody stole checks from her and also transferred $178,000 out of her account. The theft occurred at Franklin’s Bloomfield Township home, and is still ongoing. Since then, police were able to discover a person of interest in the investigation, but by the time they had accomplished that, Franklin had passed away.

Unfortunately, that leaves police with holes in the case, creating potential problems for them if they want to make an arrest. Prosecutors involved with the case cannot make an arrest based on a police report alone. They also require testimony from a witness or the alleged victim, Franklin, who is now deceased.

Investigators were not able to get the information from Franklin that was necessary for an arrest while she was still alive. So now, they do not have enough evidence to figure out how the checks were stolen, or if Franklin willingly gave them away to their person of interest.

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More evidence may still come to light, but it appears that, for now, the investigation cannot move forward.

Besides dealing with the identity theft issue, Aretha’s estate is facing numerous other financial problems, including unpaid collection bills and back taxes that the IRS is seeking. Franklin passed away from pancreatic cancer in her Detroit residence on August 16, 2018, and was 76-years-old. When she died, she left no will, and her estate is worth about $80 million, according to The Detroit News.

The Internal Revenue Service claims that Franklin’s estate owes them about $6.3 million in unpaid income taxes. This amount is cumulative, and starts with a balance of $1,305,403 in December of 2012, and also includes $552,718, which was due after Franklin’s death, on December 31, 2018. David Bennett, the attorney representing Franklin’s estate, claims that the estate has already paid around $3 million in back taxes. Bennett also feels that the IRS may be trying to obtain some money from checks that Franklin never cashed.