Fraudsters used unclaimed corpse, stolen ID to commit crime

2015-03-20 19:07
(Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

(Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Johannesburg - Five people appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Friday for allegedly using an unclaimed corpse and a stolen ID document to commit insurance fraud, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

The case was postponed to 31 March, spokesperson Thulani Zwane said.

Four of them were arrested on Wednesday when they were called into the 1Life Insurance offices to sign documents.

"The [police] members pounced on the suspects and arrested the 45-year-old suspect who was a beneficiary, the 37-year-old suspect who posed as the brother to the 'deceased', and the 26-year-old accomplice who also confirmed knowing the deceased as his uncle. The [fourth] arrest was that of the 43-year-old funeral parlour owner."

The fifth person, a 54-year-old woman employee at King Edward Hospital, was arrested on Thursday.

The arrests came after an investigation into a R1m life cover claim lodged with 1Life Insurance.

In July 2014, a 45-year-old woman from Siyanda in KwaMashu came into possession of the identity document of one Mondli Dube.

She did not know Dube and got another man to call the insurance company and take out life cover in Dube's name. The woman was made the sole beneficiary of the life cover and started paying the R319 premiums monthly.

Zwane said in January this year, after paying for six months, she wanted to cash in on the insurance, but needed a body to start the claim process.

She contacted a funeral parlour. The owner directed her to the hospital employee who told her of an unidentified body that had came in after a car accident. This woman was promised R10 000 for making the body available.

Identifying the body

Zwane said the 45-year-old woman still needed someone matching Dube's surname to identify the body as a relative.

"The 43-year-old funeral parlour owner, who was to be paid R200 000 for his efforts, came to the rescue and provided his neighbour who matched the surname. The neighbour was to be paid R20 000 for his involvement," Zwane said.

They went to King Edward Hospital, allegedly claimed to be siblings and positively identified the corpse as their younger brother.

The neighbour produced his identify document and the body was moved to a private mortuary to arrange the funeral, which ran parallel to the insurance claim being submitted.

Zwane said because the funeral would be too expensive, the woman decided to cremate the body. On Monday, the body was taken to KwaMashu for a memorial service, before the cremation on Tuesday.

The service was supposed to be held in a house and the owner was promised R20 000. The cremation was stopped.

"Investigations revealed that Mondli Dube, who is alive, lost his identity document when his car was broken into. The body will go back to the government mortuary as an unknown."

Read more on:    durban  |  fraud  |  crime

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