Brock University Professor Jonathan Neufeuld (59) and his wife, Christina Starkbaum (57), were found dead outside of their home on September 24, following a call to the police from a concerned relative who informed the officers that the couple may have committed suicide.
Police found the deceased in a wooded area behind their house shortly after arriving on the scene of the couple’s home, located at 1190 Centre St.
After a brief investigation which lasted until the following night, the police officially released that the couple had been part of a suicide pact.
“Niagara Regional Police do not believe these deaths are suspicious, however, they are the result of a suicide pact,” Const. Derek Watson said in a statement made to the press.
Neufeuld and Starkbaum, along with several other Canadians, allegedly attempted to defraud the American Government of nine million dollars through non-resident income tax returns.
Before being discovered and eventually indicted a little over a week ago on September 5, nearly $ 3.5 million had been paid out by the IRS to the alleged.
Neufeld, who had personally claimed nearly $ 1.6 million over the course of the 2009 and 2010 tax season, had allegedly been crossing the border frequently to set up bank accounts in the U.S which would then be transferred throughout Canada and the U.S.
It is reported that in May of 2010 Neufeuld deposited a cheque in the state of New York for the amount of$ 824,635. The account was in the name of both Neufeuld and Starkbaum.
A few weeks later, Neufeld arranged for a transfer of $ 123,000 to another account of one of the alleged fraudsters.
The couple who had been indicted for international tax fraud would have been facing nearly 19 charges including,among many, conspiring to defraud the I.R.S.
Had the coupled been convicted, they would have faced nearly 10 years in jail with the addition of $ 250,000 fine.
Despite the scandal that surrounded Neufeld at the time of his death, at Brock, he will be remembered not by the faults of his life, but instead by his accomplishments and contributions to the school.
Dr. Fiona Blaikie a colleague of Neufeld, described him in an interview as “sanctified really as a lifelong learner”said Blaikie.
“He was a very good teacher, particularly with graduate students who enjoyed his classes very much,” she continued.
Blaklie also stressed Neufelds close connection with the University, saying, “His connections with Brock extended beyond the facility of education he was quite invobved in BUFA, he made quite a contribution.”
She even recalled at the funeral a student who had been particulary touched by the life of Professor Neufeld.
“One graduate student at the funeral on Saturday told me she is very interested in looking at his body of works as a thesis topic… It just speaks to his influence and impact.”
Blaikie concluded the interview by saying, “We are obviously very saddened and shocked by this day and the death of his wife. He had many friends in the facility.”