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Learning English - Words in the News
 
17 March, 2008 - Published 16:48 GMT
 
Argentine false inheritance case
 
DNA

A court in northern Argentina is hearing the case of a woman who invented a new identity in order to falsely inherit a $35million fortune. However she only enjoyed the inheritance for a short while. This report from Daniel Schweimler:

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Jose Antonio Reggiardo died following a helicopter crash in July Nineteen-Ninety-Eight, leaving a thirty-five million dollar fortune and no known children. But as he lay dying in hospital, in rushed Maria Angelica Godoy screaming: "That's my father." And she went on to produce the paperwork to prove her case - and to enjoy her new-found wealth.

But then, up stepped Mario Calderon who'd been told by an aunt that he was the son of the landowner - who had had a brief affair with his mother, who worked on the estate. The mother drowned in a boating accident while Mr Calderon was a baby.

A year after the landowner died, Mr Calderon got a legal order to disinter the body and carry out DNA tests. They proved that he was the child of Jose Antonio Reggiardo. Maria Godoy carried out a similar test which proved that she wasn't.

While Mr Calderon now enjoys his father's wealth, Ms Godoy and the two lawyers who allegedly helped her to produce the false documents, are being prosecuted for fraud.

Daniel Schweimler, BBC News, Buenos Aires

Listen to the words

no known children
he might have had children but in public he was never seen with them or ever mentioned them so people presumed or thought he didn't have any

to produce the paperwork to prove her case
to show legal documents which confirmed that what she claimed was true

new-found wealth
large amount of money that she has recently received

up stepped
came forward (often unexpectedly or surprisingly)

had a brief affair
had a short romantic or sexual relationship

drowned
died under water because she was not able to breathe

disinter the body
dig up a dead body from the ground or from its grave

carry out DNA tests
do tests on someone's deoxyribonucleic acid. This chemical carries genetic information during reproduction (so you can find out if that person is someone's mother or father)

allegedly
say that someone has done something illegal or wrong without giving proof

prosecuted for fraud
officially accused of committing the crime of obtaining money by deceiving or telling lies to people


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