Aretha Franklin Suspected $178,000 Theft Prior to Death
Prosecutors investigating whether someone cashed singer’s check without permission two months before Queen of Soul’s death
Michigan prosecutors revealed Friday that Aretha Franklin suspected that someone stole nearly $180,000 from her in the months prior to her August 2018 death.
The investigation into the theft remains ongoing, Oakland County prosecutors told the Detroit News, although the Queen of Soul’s death complicates the situation.
“In June 2018, [Franklin] filed a complaint with the Bloomfield Township Police that one of her checks was missing and believed stolen,” Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton said. “But unfortunately with her death, it is difficult to determine whether she actually passed it on to someone else who had the permission and authority to cash it.”
The check was for $178,000. As the Franklin estate attorney David Bennett said in December, after the estate paid a portion of an outstanding $6.3 million to the IRS, “[Franklin] had a lot of checks lying around that she had never cashed. I had to have some of them reissued because they were so old. I don’t know why she didn’t cash them but it seems that the IRS figures some of it as undeclared income and are going after it.”
Investigators have been in contact with the person who allegedly cashed the $178,000 check but declined to release the name or their relation to Franklin.
“It may take more evidence or someone coming forward with more information about the transaction,” Walton added of possible criminal charges. “I would presume there is a chance that someone in the estate may pursue this as well.”
At the time of Franklin’s death, the singer’s estate was reportedly worth $80 million. However, she died without a will.