A lawyer has been suspended after it was found her marriage to an older man was a sham.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in 2002 Californian lawyer Linda Lowney was engaged to help prepare a will for a client, with his sister and two nieces in Norway the main beneficiaries.
By 2005 the 54-year-old Lowney was romantically linked with her client, who was then 85. He later gave her $339,000, with his niece's consent, and they were married the next year after using a confidential marriage license which enabled the couple to keep the marriage off public records.
The 31-year age gap between the pair was only half the age difference between Anna Nicole-Smith and her oil tycoon husband, J. Howard Marshall, with the former model aged 26 and Marshall aged 89 when they got hitched in 1994.
However, it seems that love between Lowney and her aged suitor was, unfortunately, fleeting, and she asked for a divorce within one year of their nuptials. Shortly afterwards her former husband died.
Lowney sued for a share of the estate, with a state appeals court ruling against her and referring the matter to the State Bar.
Californian Bar Court judge Pat McElroy labelled the marriage a "sham" and said Lowney "took advantage of a lonely, sick old man". McElroy ordered that Lowney be suspended and said she had provided false testimony that the couple was living together before they were married, and many of her ex-husband's financial records were shredded.
Lowney's lawyer said that his client didn't follow standard legal procedures because "she didn't look at herself as a lawyer. She looked at herself as his spouse or intended".
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