Published April 22. 2009 5:20PM
Accused arsonist Richard Shenkman has been charged with forging his ex-wife's signature in order to obtain a loan against a life insurance policy she owned, according to South Windsor police.
Shenkman, 60, is accused of burning down his wife's Niantic beach home in March 2007 in the midst of a contentious divorce. His arson case and lawsuits involving insurance proceeds from the house are pending in New London Superior Court.
The new charges stem from a 2008 investigation in which his ex-wife, Nancy Tyler, complained that Shenkman forged her signature on insurance documents so that he could take out a $9,000 loan against her insurance policy, according to South Windsor Police.
Tyler went to police in November 2008 after receiving a letter from Nationwide Insurance saying she owed $9,000 on a loan taken from the policy, according to Sgt. Scott Custer.
Tyler showed police loan documents that had not been signed by her, Custer said.
Shenkman turned himself into South Windsor police Monday knowing they held a warrant charging him with second-degree forgery. He was released on a $10,000 nonsurety bond and is scheduled to appear in court in Manchester on April 30.
Shenkman said Tuesday in an e-mail that he owned the life insurance policy because Tyler had signed it over to him in 2002.
Shenkman recently changed his name from Richard J. Shenkman Tyler to Richard J. Tyler, according to court documents. Shenkman applied for the change in January, about six months after a Hartford judge issued a decree granting the couple a divorce.
Shenkman has appealed the divorce, and the state Appellate Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case on Friday.