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article imageCleaners accused of sweeping up elderly sisters' fortune

By AFP     Apr 4, 2015 in Crime

Two cleaners who worked for a pair of elderly sisters have been accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of euros the women kept in cash in their home near Lyon in central France, a judicial source said Saturday.

The cleaners, men aged 41 and 44, were charged with theft on Friday and detained after a two-year police investigation which began shortly after the bodies of the sisters were discovered in their home in the suburb of Bron in April 2013.

An autopsy concluded that they had died four months earlier, but no foul play was suspected, according to the regional newspaper Le Progres.

One sister was a retired teacher, the other a former postal worker. But stashed in the house was 397,985 euros (nearly $437,000).

But that, it turned out, was just the tip of their treasure.

Living alone with no heirs, the sisters had designated neighbours as executors of their estate. In going over the papers of the elderly women, they discovered the sisters had amassed an even greater fortune.

But a total of nearly 1.9 million euros was missing, the judicial source said.

A police investigation into the missing money found some suspicious bank deposits made by the house cleaners. They were arrested Thursday along with three others, two of whom were released without charges while the third, a woman, was charged with receiving stolen goods and released.

Some of those detained said the money was found in two bags in the sisters' bedrooms.

Police said they have recovered "several hundred thousand euros" at the homes of the accused.

But it is still a mystery how the sisters became so rich, with Le Progres claiming that it could have been from property sales.

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