AceShowbiz - Aretha Franklin was hit with theft before her death last August. The Bloomfield Township Police Department in Michigan has opened criminal investigation after some of the late singer's valuable property were reported missing in June of last year.
Police Lt. Timothy Abbo has confirmed to the Detroit Free Press late Thursday, January 10 that an active theft investigation is underway involving the Queen of Soul's suburban mansion. The investigation started before Aretha's death.
According to The Blast, the revelation came about because Aretha's estate is locked in a battle with Franklin's 61-year-old son, Edward, who was born when the singer was just 14. Edward has been trying to get a court order to force the estate to produce monthly financial documents to Franklin's heirs. The estate refuses to turn over the information because they fear that it may negatively impact the criminal investigation into the missing assets.
Additionally, one of Aretha's ex-husbands has been in dispute with her estate regarding music royalties. The estate claims the records and other materials requested "may jeopardize these matters and should not be disclosed."
While details of the stolen assets are not disclosed, TMZ reports that someone inappropriately used her funds before her death. It's unclear exactly how much money which was gone missing.
Aretha's estate also has issues with taxes and the government. IRS claims the "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" singer owes more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018 and $1.5 million in penalties.
However, David Bennett who represents Aretha's estate said in December that they "have disputes with the IRS regarding what they claim was income. We claim its double-dipping income because they don't understand how the business works."
"She had to pay for transportation, hotel rooms, backup singers, musicians. When she did that the IRS was questioning the returns she filed. We're going through audits. Returns were filed as timely as we could get them filed," David argued, adding that Aretha's estate has paid at least $3 million in back taxes to the IRS since her death in August.
Aretha passed away on August 16, 2018 after battling pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. She was 76.