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Heiress gets probation in forgery plea

Citizen Staff Writer



A controversial heiress was sentenced to three years of intensive probation after pleading guilty to attempted forgery.

Judge Clark W. Munger of Pima County Superior Court also ordered Marjorie Congdon Hagen, 76, to pay $10,000 to the county for attorney fees.

Hagen was indicted on one charge each of fraud and forgery for trying to cash a check for more than $11,000 on March 19, 2007, from a man who died earlier that month.

Her sentence could have ranged from six months to 2.5 years in prison or up to 12 months in jail.

Hagen claimed in defense papers that she cared for Roger Sammis and took his inheritance money from a joint account to pay debts and repay herself and Sammis’ friend for money they had loaned him.

Sammis called Hagen “my angel,” defense records show.

Though Hagen was once wealthy, her fortunes appear to have declined.

She was represented in the fraud case by court-appointed attorney Brick P. Storts III.

Financial records filed in the case indicate Hagen had about $12,000 in bank accounts and lived on an annuity and monthly trust fund payments.

Hagen and her second husband, Roger Caldwell, were charged in the 1977 murders of her mother, wealthy Minnesota heiress Elisabeth Congdon, and nurse Velma Pietila.

Caldwell was convicted. Hagen was acquitted. An alibi witness later recanted, records show.

Children of her third husband – Wallace Hagen, whom Marjorie married while Caldwell was in prison – said she allegedly used $200,000 from her mother’s estate to pay for Caldwell’s attorneys, according to court papers.

While Marjorie Hagen expected millions from Congdon’s estate, her children sued for the right to the money, saying they could prove in a civil trial that she conspired with Caldwell to kill Congdon. Marjorie Hagen settled with her children out of court.

Marjorie befriended Wallace and Helen Hagen of Mound, Minn., while Caldwell was in prison. Helen and Wallace’s children claimed Marjorie was the last person to feed their ailing mother before she died.

Marjorie and Wallace later wed. The bride, however, was later charged with bigamy because she failed to divorce Caldwell, court records show.

Caldwell’s murder conviction was overturned and he later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a plea deal. He killed himself in 1988 after being released from prison.

Wallace Hagen died Oct. 29, 1992, the day after Marjorie Hagen was convicted of setting a recreational vehicle on fire in Ajo, where the couple lived.

The heiress also was convicted in a separate criminal damage case and served 14 years of a 15-year sentence, records show.

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