SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) — A motion was filed to disqualify a man’s widowed wife, Kouri Richins, from his estate, on grounds of homicide. The petition included several alleged financial motives for the murder of her husband.
Kouri Richins, a Utah mom charged with murdering her husband Eric Richins, may not receive a portion of his estate as she previously believed. While authorities have not stated a motive yet, several of the details surrounding the case relate to money.
According to charging documents, Kouri reportedly poisoned her husband with fentanyl while celebrating a closure on a $2 million house. Court documents also include that Kouri ran her own realty agency, and Eric was the co-owner of a stone masonry company in Utah.
When Eric passed away, Kouri set forth a claim totaling $3,641,549.28 of Eric’s money. According to the claim, Kouri’s premarital agreement guaranteed her a $2 million ownership interest in Eric’s stone masonry. She claimed the additional $1.4 million for their family home, mortgage payments, construction costs, and personal property.
Eric’s sister, Katie Richins filed a petition to disqualify Kouri from the estate because she allegedly committed a disqualifying homicide on Eric.
“Thereby forfeiting all benefits under the estate, revoking any disposition or appointment of property in any instruments signed by Eric, severing any rights as joint tenants, treating Kouri as if she had predeceased Eric,” The petition stated. “And otherwise preventing Kouri from in any way profiting from Eric’s death.”
Financial motives for Kouri to allegedly murder Eric
In the petition, Katie said that Kouri had a financial motive to murder Eric, and listed them as follows:
Eric married Kouri on June 15, 2013, and starting as early as 2016 (and perhaps earlier), Kouri allegedly began having serious financial troubles. Katie said she believed Kouri began stealing money from Eric to help her buy and sell homes. This included Kouri allegedly taking money from bank accounts owned by Eric and running debts on credit cards in Eric’s name without his knowledge.
According to the petition, Eric learned in Sept. 2020, that Kouri had withdrawn at least $100,000 from his bank accounts. He also reportedly learned that Kouri had wrongfully borrowed large amounts of money on his credit cards. Eric allegedly confronted Kouri about the stolen money, and she admitted to taking it.
The amount of money Kouri reportedly stole from bank accounts is estimated to have been more than $100,000. The amount of money wrongfully charged to Eric’s credit cards is estimated to have been more than $30,000.
According to the petition, in September 2020, after Eric discovered the stolen money, he also discovered Kouri had borrowed $250,000 using a fraudulent Power of Attorney.
Kouri reportedly accomplished this by having Eric sign a Power of Attorney for certain activities, but Kouri allegedly forged Eric’s initials in several categories listed in the Power of Attorney.
“Upon signing, Eric did not believe he was signing over such substantial rights as outlined in the Power of Attorney,” the petition stated. Eric’s purported signature was dated May 8, 2013, but was not purportedly notarized until May 8, 2018.
According to the petition, around March 2019, without Eric’s knowledge or consent, Kouri opened a bank account with a revolving line of credit and borrowed $250,000. She allegedly did this with a Deed of Trust in which Kouri signed Eric’s signature. Eric reportedly confronted Kouri about the fraudulent loan in September 2020, and Kouri reportedly admitted she had wrongfully taken the loan and promised to pay it back.
Kouri also allegedly repeated the promise to pay Eric back for the loan, as well as the stolen bank money, and credit card charges just a few days before Eric died on March 4, 2022, the petition stated.
Eric’s Life Insurance and Stone Masonry company
Eric and Cody Wright formed C&E Stone Masonry, LLC in 2009. They were the only two members and had purchased mutual life insurance policies on one another, the petition stated.
In January 2022, Kouri reportedly logged into Eric’s life insurance account without his permission and changed the beneficiary from Cody to herself. This attempt was unsuccessful, as it was discovered and changed back to Cody.
Kouri also alleged that she would pay Eric’s tax obligations for his company, and for his personal account using Eric’s money. Kouri reportedly misdirected money that was intended to be paid by C&E for Eric’s tax obligations, as well as for Eric’s personal tax obligations, the petition reported.
The total amount that Kouri misdirected or stole that was intended to be paid for Eric’s federal tax obligations is at least $80,024, the petition stated. The total amount for state tax obligations is reportedly at least $134,346.
In total, Kouri Richins allegedly stole, or misused approximately $494,000 of Eric’s money, the petition asserted. This does not include Kouri’s claim for over $3.6 million.