'Body-snatching' fraudsters arrested
Durban - Two people were arrested on Friday for allegedly making fraudulent claims from insurance companies of about R1.5m using bodies from a funeral parlour, KwaZulu-Natal police said.
"A 35-year-old teacher from Esikhawini near Richards Bay and a 37-year-old funeral parlour owner from KwaDukuza will appear in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Monday," Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Mdunge said.
The two allegedly worked together in a scam which involved claiming money from insurance companies using bodies from the funeral parlour.
A reservist from KwaMsane found out that she was certified dead when she went to home affairs to sort out her personal issues.
When police investigated the matter they found that many people had fallen victim to the scam.
"The teacher stole people’s identity documents and took funeral policies in their names; she would wait for eight months and then claim back from the insurance company, saying the person had died of natural causes," Mdunge said.
The woman worked with the funeral parlour owner, whose role was to release a body of the same age as the one insured by the teacher from his mortuary.
"The body would be taken to an unsuspecting doctor, who would certify the person as having died of natural causes," he said.
Police found death notification forms, ID copies and policy documents belonging to different people when they raided the funeral parlour.
Investigations also revealed that the claims had been lodged to different insurance companies including Old Mutual and Sanlam, Mdunge said.