New information is being examined by local authorities that may give more credibility to the story that Carole Baskin’s former husband Don Lewis’ disappearance might have been unintentionally. Fox News is reporting.
The former attorney of Carole Baskin’s long-time-missing second husband ‘Don Lewis’ said he believes his client’s signature was forged on two documents that effectively surrendered his fortune to the Tiger King star after he vanished.
The now famous Netflix documentary ‘Tiger King’, multi-millionaire Don Lewis, who co-owned a Florida wildlife sanctuary with Baskin, vanished without a trace in August 1997 aged 59.
Lewis has never been found, nor has any evidence to suggest he was murdered, though authorities have previously stated they don’t believe he disappeared on his own volition.
Shortly after his disappearance, Baskin – his wife at the time and the last known person to see him alive – produced his will and his power of attorney that gave her complete control of his $5 million estate.
one of Lewis’ ex-attorneys, Joseph Fritz, said he now believes his client’s signature on both of the documents are actually forgeries.
‘I believe it was traced,’ Fritz told FOX, adding that he thinks the ledger was copied from Lewis’ marriage certificate, signed some five years prior to his disappearance.
‘Somebody sat at my office and had the pictures and was able to lay one over the other on their cellphone and they are a perfect match,’ he continued, citing that typically a person’s signature shows at least some variation.
Fritz’s observations have also been supported by two independent handwriting experts: Willa Smith, who contested the legitimacy documents for Lewis’ family back in 1997, and Thomas Vastrick, who voiced his suspicions earlier this week.
‘It’s not a difficult call,’ Vastrick told the Clarion Ledger, adding that the signatures appeared to be ‘the product of tracing’.
Vastrick also believes Lewis’ signature for both documents were traced from his marriage record, noting that the witnesses signatures and the notary on both documents are also ‘identical’, suggesting that at least one — and possibly both — of the documents may have been forged.
He reiterated his findings to Fox on Thursday: ‘In conducting the examination of the durable family power of attorney and the will, both of which were created on Nov. 21 in 1996, I was struck by the uncanny similarity between each set of signatures,’ he said.
‘It was nearly exact replication to the extent that I was very confidently able to opine that what I was dealing with – at least with Mr. Lewis’s signature – that these signatures were traced.’
‘Every time you sign your name, there’s a level of variation from one signature to the next,’ he continued, ‘and these are just way, way too similar. I did not find this a difficult determination at all.’
In this instance, Fritz says, the most critical document is the power of attorney.
‘[Baskin] managed to move their money and assets and property via the power of attorney, not the will … she had to because he wasn’t declared dead [until] five years later,’ he explained.
When approaching Carole Baskin with questions regarding the claims of forgery. Her response to news outlets is ‘Sorry no comment’, it’s unclear if this is Baskin responding or a spokesperson responding. —Daily Mail