A cop with expensive taste and money troubles. A wealthy woman who loved and supported him. An old man with dementia with a large estate and no next of kin. And a secret girlfriend and a fake will. Mix these elements together and what do you get? Katherine Laidlaw’s latest story for Toronto Life about a romance and financial scam gone wrong.
It was easy to keep the women apart. They occupied different worlds within Toronto. Dixon attended high-society balls and charity galas. She travelled broadly and often. Balgobin—whom he always contacted using a burner phone or through Snapchat—had modest means and ambitions. She lived in a studio apartment near the Rogers Centre and worked with society’s elderly and most vulnerable. She brought snacks to Konashewych’s office down the street on her breaks. She was dutiful, eager to please. Over time, her position at the OPGT, where she oversaw the ongoing care of clients and their financial decisions, would prove surprisingly lucrative.
That Sommerfeld didn’t have a will or documented next of kin wasn’t unusual—many OPGT clients don’t. But it is rare for someone with substantial assets, and he had an $834,000 estate. A 2018 audit of the agency found that just six per cent of its clients had assets of more than $100,000. That made Sommerfeld a member of a very small group. His medical care and financial decisions would be entrusted to the most senior client representatives at the agency, each overseeing anywhere from 80 to 100 cases at a time. In January of 2017, a new public servant took over the caseload that included Sommerfeld’s estate: Adellene Balgobin.