Broward County Medical Examiner Joshua Perper, who became a bit of a national celebrity during the Anna Nicole Smith case and is an occasional guest of Nancy Grace, is involved in a bitter dispute with his daughter's in-laws, who claim Perper's daughter and her husband pilfered their fortune.
The claims of 75-year-old Thelma Greenstein -- who is strongly supported by her two daughters -- have been investigated by the Broward Sheriff's Office, the Broward State Attorney's Office, the Department of Children and Families, and lastly the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, which ultimately declined to prosecute. (Sounds like a hot potato, eh?)
Thelma Greenstein says she believes the 77-year-old Perper, who works closely with law enforcement, and his relatives are getting special treatment because of his public position.
The claims made by the family against Alan and Blanca Greenstein are detailed in a letter written to Gov. Charlie Crist, which you can read here. The elder Greenstein said she contacted Perper for help but he rebuffed her.
Greenstein and her daughters, Gabi and Lydia, made numerous allegations regarding the loss of the fortune and other matters regarding Perper. The medical examiner said all the complaints were untrue.
"She has been shown not to tell the truth, and her allegations have been dismissed," said Perper. "I don't have anything to comment except to say that
all her allegations are groundless."
John Hager, the attorney representing Alan and Blanca Greenstein, also denied that his clients did anything wrong.
"These allegations are false," said Alan Greenstein's attorney, John Hager. "They want to ruin my client's reputation, and they want to ruin it for personal and financial gain. There was an ad nauseum investigation for months, and after it was investigated thoroughly, it was found not to be true."
Yet one truth is evident in the case: Alan Greenstein has obtained cash and valuables owned by his mother that he obtained while she was on pain medication and recovering from health problems. She wants her possessions back, and he refuses to return them to her.
At one point, it looked like the dispute was going to be resolved. One of Alan Greenstein's attorneys, Fred Haddad, wrote a letter to Thelma Greenstein stating that the son had agreed to return all the possessions he had taken. But it never happened.
I asked Hager why the cash and valuables -- which the Greenstein women claim are worth a total of $3 million -- haven't been returned.
"I'll answer that question when she answers the question of why she hasn't filed a civil suit in this case," Hager said.
Thelma Greenstein, who lives in Pompano Beach, said she doesn't have the money to hire an attorney and is looking for a lawyer who will take the case on contingency.
When told her answer, Hager still refused to answer my question.
Perper, who was born in Romania, says that considering all of the allegations levied by Thelma Greenstein and her daughters, he believes the accusers may be suffering from "folie à deux," a rare psychiatric syndrome in which delusional beliefs are transmitted from one individual to another (this case would constititute a "folie à trois").
"They have indoctrinated each other with lies," said Perper.
Thelma Greenstein laughed at that idea.
"They told us they will never be touched," she said. "They can do what they want, when they want, and how they want. I am not going anywhere. I will make these statements publicly, and I will make them in court."
I'm looking into additional allegations.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.