Mother fakes death to cash in on R2.3m life in­sur­ance pay­out

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

LON­DON: A Debt-rid­den mother faked her own death dur­ing a hol­i­day off the east coast of Africa in an at­tempt to claim a £136 000 (R2.3 mil­lion) life in­sur­ance pay­out.

Arafa Nas­sib, 48, flew to the Tan­za­nian is­land of Zanz­ibar to visit her sis­ter, then e-mailed a false death cer­tifi­cate and other doc­u­ments to her teenage son, Adil Kasim, back home in the UK.

Nas­sib, who had run up £80 000 of debts with two hire-pur­chase fur­ni­ture stores, told Kasim, then 17, to no­tify the in­surer, Scot­tish Widows, she had died in a car crash. He was the ben­e­fi­ciary of her pol­icy.

Nas­sib also pro­vided a let­ter from the hos­pi­tal where she was sup­pos­edly ad­mit­ted with a head in­jury, as well as de­tails about the ceme­tery where she was said to be buried.

Her in­sur­ance com­pany launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause Tan­za­nia was con­sid­ered high risk for fraud, and dis­cov­ered Kasim’s story was a “well-re­hearsed pack of lies,” the court heard.

The mother and son held hands in the dock be­fore Nas­sib was jailed to two-and-a-half years.

Art and de­sign stu­dent, Kasim, was given a 12-month com­mu­nity or­der af­ter Recorder Wil­liam Edis, QC, said he had been used as a “pawn” by his mother, whom he de­scribed as the “prime mover” in the fraud.

Pros­e­cu­tor Jonathan Barker had ear­lier de­scribed how the pair were rum­bled af­ter an in­sur­ance fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tor in­ter­viewed Kasim about the claim in May last year.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tor flew to Zanz­ibar and found the doc­tor, who was said to have treated Nas­sib, was not even liv­ing in Tan­za­nia at the time of her sup­posed death that April.

The Mnazi Mmoja Hos­pi­tal in Zanz­ibar con­firmed she was not ad­mit­ted as a pa­tient and of­fi­cials at the ceme­tery said no­body of her name was in­terred there.

Barker said the hos­pi­tal “con­firmed that some­body work­ing there must have as­sisted with the fraud” be­cause the let­ter sub­mit­ted by Kasim was on let­ter-headed pa­per.

Anal­y­sis of Nas­sib’s cell­phone showed she had flown back to the UK and called her son im­me­di­ately af­ter land­ing at Birmingham Air­port.

Po­lice ar­rested Kasim in De­cem­ber – three weeks af­ter he turned 18 – and he ad­mit­ted his mother was alive and liv­ing in Ot­tawa, Canada, to “stay out of the way”. Nas­sib was held af­ter re­turn­ing to the UK in Fe­bru­ary.

Nas­sib’s lawyer, Jim Olphert, told the court she de­vised the fraud – to­talling £136 000 from one life in­sur­ance pol­icy and a sec­ond re­lat­ing to crit­i­cal ill­ness cover – af­ter in­cur­ring debt on hire-pur­chase agree­ments for fur­ni­ture ac­quired in 2009.

He said she failed to keep up with re­pay­ments to the High Street chain BrightHouse and a sim­i­lar com­pany called Per­fec­tHome, and by 2015 the debt stood at £80 000.

Nas­sib and Kasim ad­mit­ted con­spir­acy to com­mit fraud by mak­ing false rep­re­sen­ta­tions.

Passing sen­tence, the judge said: “In­sur­ance fraud is very preva­lent and rel­a­tively easy. Hon­esty in the claims process is im­per­a­tive or else the whole in­sur­ance sys­tem is put at risk. There is a role, there­fore, for de­ter­rent sen­tenc­ing.”

While Nas­sib was jailed, the judge told her son he would be le­nient with him in light of his age, guilty plea, ad­mis­sions and lack of pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions.

Mean­while, three women were ar­rested in Bizana, in the East­ern Cape, for the il­le­gal claim of a corpse for life in­sur­ance last year. The women al­legedly took the body of a 24-year-old man claim­ing him to be their rel­a­tive and want­ing to claim for life in­sur­ance.

It was be­lieved that the syn­di­cate was op­er­at­ing for some time us­ing the same tac­tics. They were caught af­ter the body they took was later de­manded by the fam­ily of the de­ceased. – Daily Mail and Staff Re­porter

He ad­mit­ted his mother was alive and liv­ing in Ot­tawa, Canada

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