updated 6/24/2006 10:37:28 PM ET 2006-06-25T02:37:28

A man has been convicted of forging his comatose girlfriend’s signature on the deed for the house they lived in and selling the property after she died.

A jury found Fermin Galvez, 43, guilty Friday of forgery, theft and other charges.

Galvez’s girlfriend — 55-year-old Alba Morales — was dying of cancer and hospitalized in a coma in January 2005 when Galvez visited a lawyer’s office with an unidentified woman posing as Morales, said John Anderson, an assistant Essex County prosecutor.

With a forged signature on the deed and his girlfriend supposedly present, Morales was able get his name added.

Morales died five days later. Galvez sold the house for $245,000, cutting out Morales’ legal husband and children from their inheritance, Anderson said.

Galvez stayed in the house after the closing and managed to convince police who came to evict him that he still had a claim, the prosecutor said.

He was indicted in December after Morales’ family showed prosecutors the deed transfer took place while Morales was comatose.

It was unclear Saturday how ownership of the home would be settled.

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