CLOVIS, Calif. (AP) - A jury says a Central Valley couple who faked the wife's death committed fraud in the sale of their horse ranch. The panel ruled against Dr. Michael Weilert of Clovis and his wife on Thursday and awarded the ranch buyers $700,000.
Four years ago, Weilert and his wife sold their Parlier ranch to a Southern California couple for $2.3 million. That couple later sued. Their attorney argued that Weilert wrote his wife's obituary in 2007 and claimed Genevieve de Montremare died of leukemia in order to obtain sympathy and jack up the ranch price.
Weilert's attorney contends that the faked death - and phony claims that Weilert's wife is descended from French royalty - had nothing to do with the sale.