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Brady murder suspect linked to mortgage fraud

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By Margaret Harding
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011

A New Jersey man accused of killing his father and stepmother and trying to cover it up had paid his father for fake mortgages, according to an affidavit filed this week in Butler County.

State police found tax records that showed interest payments that Colin Abbott, 41, of Randolph, N.J., made to his father, Kenneth Abbott, 65, of Brady for mortgages on at least nine properties in New Jersey that neither man owned, the affidavit said.

State police in July charged Colin Abbott with two counts each of homicide and abuse of a corpse in connection with the deaths of his father and stepmother, Celeste Abbott, 55.

The investigating trooper in the case was not available for comment. A judge has issued a gag order on attorneys and court personnel involved in the case.

In October, state police met with Colin Abbott's girlfriend, Rayna Regenthal, at the home they shared, the affidavit said. Regenthal told the troopers that Abbott did his own notary work and showed them his collection of notary seals, including one of an attorney that had represented him in a previous legal matter.

A notarized mortgage found in Kenneth Abbott's home appeared to match the attorney's seal, the affidavit said. A notarized mortgage for another property had identification numbers from the Morris County Registry Office in New Jersey, where it was supposedly filed, the affidavit stated. However, the office lists a different property for those identification numbers.

In a recorded conversation between Colin Abbott and Regenthal while Abbott was jailed in the Morris County Prison, a reference was made to the Notary Superstore, according to the affidavit, which does not say when the conversation took place. A search of records from the website showed four purchases by Colin Abbott, the affidavit stated.

The affidavit did not name a victim in the apparent forgery. No new charges have been filed against Colin Abbott, who was being held without bail in the Butler County Prison.

Investigators said Colin Abbott told relatives that the couple died in early June in a fiery car crash in New Jersey that burned their bodies beyond recognition. New Jersey state police found no record of the crash when Celeste Abbott's daughter called for information. They asked Pennsylvania State Police on July 13 to check the Abbotts' multimillion-dollar property in Brady.

Troopers found burned human remains scattered on the 25-acre property and recovered a bullet from a pond. Police said they found Celeste Abbott's credit cards and driver's license, along with a .38-caliber handgun, in Colin Abbott's home.

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