A Camden couple pleaded guilty Monday to charges they helped forge the will of a man who died in a 2015 car wreck and who left nearly $2 million as a survivor of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster.
John Wayne Kinley Jr. pleaded guilty to wire fraud during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Susan O. Hickey in federal court in El Dorado. His wife, Marion Diane Kinley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a separate hearing before Hickey on Monday.
They will be sentenced after completion of a pre-sentence investigation that typically takes weeks to perform. They remained free on bond Monday. Each could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison and fined up to $250,000.
The Kinleys were charged in connection with the forgery of Matthew Seth Jacobs’ will by Marion Kinley’s sister, Donna Christina Herring, six days after Jacobs’ death Jan. 19, 2015, according to court records. In the will Herring created, she left the bulk of Jacobs’ $1.7 million fortune to her daughter, Jordan Alexandra Peterson.
Herring and Peterson pleaded guilty to charges growing out of the fake will in January — Herring to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and, Peterson, to lying to the FBI. They are awaiting sentencing.
The Kinleys were accused in the scheme to signing the forged will as witnesses. Court records show Marion Kinley also gave Herring her debit card number so Herring could open an internet account at a website she used to create the will.
According to court records, Jacobs was injured in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon fire and explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. As part of a class action lawsuit, he obtained a multi-million-dollar settlement. He became acquainted with Herring, a real estate agent in Camden, to help him spend part of his fortune on property purchases.
Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.