Former Cop Found Guilty in Gay Relationship Inheritance Scam

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 1, 2021

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Stock image  (Source:Getty Images)

An Australian court found a former cop guilty of fraud for having claimed to be in a longterm secret gay relationship in an attempt to claim a $6 million inheritance, Australian newspaper the Brisbane Times reported.

The former officer, 38-year-old Okan Yesilhat, had made the claim on the estate of George Sclavos, who died of a heart attack at the age of 65 in 2013. Unmarried and childless, Sclavos left his estate to two nieces.

Within hours of Sclavos' death, $200,000 found its way from Sclavos' bank into Yesilhat's own account, the article said. That was just the beginning: Yesilhat went to court to challenge the pharmacist's will, claiming that he and Sclavos had been secretly involved in a 14-year relationship, "despite the then police officer having married twice in this period," according to the news outlet.

Yesilhat had borrowed money in 2011 from Sclavos to buy a tire business, after which he switched careers and became a mechanic, the Brisbane Times detailed in an earlier article. Sclavos having funded the venture was a loan, and not a gift, the business' previous owner testified.

The Brisbane Times recounted that Sclavos suffered a fatal heart attack while at his pharmacy, and Yesilhat had been spotted outside the business while first responders tried to save Sclavos' life. The money transfers took place soon after on the same day.

The judge in the case, Justice Michael Slattery, declared Yesilhat had "dishonestly diverted to himself or for his benefit all the funds transferred from the deceased's accounts on and from the day of the deceased's death."

In a 2018 court proceeding over the money transfer, magistrate Jennifer Atkinson noted "that there was much evidence to show that Mr Sclavos was heterosexual and had relationships with women," the article said.

In the earlier case, the article reports Yesilhat was "found guilty of 14 charges relating to the misappropriation of money from Mr Sclavos' accounts" and was later "sentenced to a two-year Intensive Corrections Order and 750 hours of community service."

In the new ruling, handed down on May 28, "The NSW Court of Appeal rejected Yesilhat's renewed claim that he was the de facto of Mr Sclavos and therefore entitled to inherit his estate," the newspaper detailed.

Justice Slattery ordered Yesilhat to repay the $200,000 that had been transferred to his account from Sclavos' account in the hours following Sclavos' death. Yesilhat was also ordered to repay the money Sclavos had loaned him to buy the tire business.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.