San Juan County man accused of defrauding late father's estate

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A 60-year-old man was accused last week of defrauding his father's estate during a probate fight with his sister.

Creighton "Creig" Wallace was charged Aug. 24 in Aztec Magistrate Court with two counts of second-degree felony fraud and one count of perjury.

Wallace was released from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center after posting a $10,000 bond, according to court records.

Wallace said in an interview that he was "fighting over a family will," but referred questions to his attorney, Sarah Weaver. Weaver said she had no comment.

Wallace's sister, Denise Whitaker, contacted the San Juan County Sheriff's Office on March 17 and alleged her brother lied on court records to seize two properties belonging to the estate of their deceased father, Donovan Wallace, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Whitaker told deputies all of her father's assets, including the properties, were willed to her by their father, but Creig Wallace filed a motion in local probate court in January asking that he be named the personal representative of the estate.

The properties, one valued at more than $125,253, and the other valued at more than $170,562, are both in Boise, Idaho, according to the affidavit.

Creig Wallace allegedly signed court documents while filing his motion claiming he "looked carefully and thoroughly" for his father's will and was unable to locate it, the affidavit states.

On Feb. 3, he was named the informal personal representative of the estate, according to the affidavit, and filed legal documents with the assessor's office in Ada County, Idaho, that allowed him to take possession of the Boise properties.

However, Whitaker told deputies her father left a will and her brother knew that.

Whitaker told deputies her brother called her shortly after their father's death in October and asked if their father provided him anything in the will. Whitaker told her brother he was provided nothing because he had no relationship with God, the affidavit states.

Her brother requested a copy of the will, but Whitaker said she did not send it to him, fearing he would forge their father's signature and draft a new will, according to the affidavit.

Whitaker said she had been named the personal representative of her father's estate in Ada County's probate court in November, the affidavit states, but she was unable to claim her father's properties in Boise due to her brother's actions.

Judge Brad Dalley dismissed Creig Wallace's probation action on March 25, according to court records.

Creig Wallace admitted in an interview with detectives that he knew his father had a will and nonetheless signed court documents denying such knowledge, according to the affidavit.

Creig Wallace told detectives that since his sister never sent him the will, he did not know if it actually existed, the affidavit states.

A preliminary examination hearing has not yet been scheduled for Creig Wallace, according to court records.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.