DETROIT -- The Bloomfield Township police department is investigating a theft from Aretha Franklin's estate, which has been embroiled in controversy both before and since the late singer's death.
Police Lt. Timothy Abbo told the Free Press late Thursday an active theft investigation is underway involving the Queen of Soul's suburban mansion, but that it started before Franklin's death. He offered no further details.
Franklin died of pancreatic cancer in August in her Detroit riverfront apartment at the age of 76. At the time of her death, she still owned her 4,148-square-foot Colonial-style home in Bloomfield Township, which has drawn scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service.
The theft investigation was first reported by The Blast, a celebrity news website that says Franklin's estate is locked in a battle with Franklin's 61-year-old son, Edward, who was born when the singer was just 14.
Edward, The Blast reports, has been trying to get a court order to force the estate to produce monthly financial documents to Franklin's heirs. But the estate won't turn over the information because, it claims, that could negatively impact the criminal investigation involving missing assets from the estate.
As of late Thursday, the Free Press could not reach attorney David Bennett, the estate's lawyer, for comment.
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In December, the IRS filed a claim in Oakland County Probate Court, alleging the Franklin estate owed millions in back taxes and penalties. An attorney for the estate told the Associated Press that at least $3 million in back taxes had been paid back to the IRS since Franklin's death.
According to TMZ, which cited court records in a December report, the late singer owed more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018 and $1.5 million in penalties.
"All of her returns have been filed," attorney David Bennett told the AP. "We have disputes with the IRS regarding what they claim was income. We claim its double-dipping income because they don't understand how the business works."
According to Bennett, Franklin had a lot of expenses whenever she toured.