'Dead’ police reservist exposes insurance fraud

2012-04-23 00:00

A POLICE reservist’s discovery that she had been fraudulently classified as dead led to the arrest of a teacher and a funeral parlour owner on Friday for alleged insurance fraud and money laundering amounting to more than R1,5 million.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Mdunge said police pounced on a 35-year-old teacher at her Esikhawini home just before she left for work.

Then they went to Greytown Magistrate’s Court where they arrested the 37-year-old funeral parlour owner, who was appearing in another case on similar charges.

Mdunge said the two had allegedly been working together in a scam involving claiming money from insurance companies using bodies from the funeral parlour.

He said the police launched an investigation after a police reservist in kwa­Msane found out she had been certified dead.

“The reservist had gone to a local Home Affairs office to sort out her personal issues when she was told she had died.

“This came as a shock to her and she decided to open a case immediately,” Mdunge said.

He said many people had fallen victim to the syndicate.

They had to get themselves removed from the list of the dead and become registered as being alive again.

“Police learnt that the teacher stole people’s identity documents and took funeral policies out in their names; she would wait for eight months and then claim from the insurance company, saying the person had died of natural causes,” said Mdunge.

The role of the funeral parlour owner was to release a body that was the same age as the one insured by the teacher.

“The body would be taken to an unsuspecting doctor who would certify the person as having died of natural causes,” said Mdunge.

Police raided the offices of the funeral parlour and found death notification forms, identity document copies and policy documents belonging to various people.

Police investigations also revealed that the claims had been lodged with different insurance companies, including Old Mutual and Sanlam.

The suspects are due to appear in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court today on charges of fraud and money laundering.

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