CENTER MORICHES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island teenager is locked in a court battle with her grandfather over her multimillion dollar inheritance from her late father.
Eighth grader Rebecca Schaefer attended court rather than class Tuesday, fighting for millions of dollars she claims a greedy grandfather stole.READ MORE: Campaign 2021: Polls Open For Early Voting In New York City Primaries; First With Ranked Choice Voting
“He had no right to do that, he deserves a punishment,” she told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
The 13-year-old claims her father’s father, Gary Eriksen, cut her out of a wrongful death windfall, including millions that was awarded in a settlement after her father, Scott Erickson, died in Suffolk County custody.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, Scott Eric was jailed on a marijuana charge and thrown into a cell, he later sustained a fatal head injury.
Gary Eriksen allegedly then pocketed the payout as next of kin.
“He just threw her to the curb like she didn’t exist,” Schaefer’s maternal grandmother, Debra Schaefer, said.
“Rebecca has been cheated over $2 million and the only way we can get it back is through the legal process,” attorney John Ray said.
Ray said Eriksen squandered the money on luxury cars, homes and an investment in a night club, before disappearing.READ MORE: NYPD: Suspects Demand Cash, Grab Jewish Man's Yarmulke In Brooklyn Robbery
As Gusoff reported, he was tracked down at a home in Shirley and was ordered to appear in court. However, he did not show up, claiming back and neck problems.
Relatives who did show up said they never even knew Rebecca– who was born to teenage parents– even existed until recently.
“Scott didn’t know he had a child. We didn’t know he had a child,” Jennifer Eriksen said.
A judge has ruled Rebecca is the true next of kin, but her attorney says Eriksen kept spending money that’s rightfully hers.
“I never got to know my dad and then someone comes and just takes his money,” Schaefer said.
Rebecca says if there is any money left, she would like to spend it on a college education and possibly medical school to become a doctor as well as for a proper headstone for her father, who is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery with just a marker.
The judge ordered Eriksen to appear in court Friday. If he fails to show up again, the judge said the hearing could be held at his hospital bedside.
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