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