Insurance fraud: life terms for 3

2013-12-17 00:00

SEVEN bodies, seven murders and seven insurance claims.

The three people who ran an insurance scam until they were caught, were sentenced to life imprisonment last week.

Maryanne Dimba, Linda Mdluli and Sibusiso Buthelezi, were convicted earlier this year by Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Fikile Mokgohloa on multiple counts of racketeering, fraud, and conspiracy to commit murder.

Their modus operandi was to organise an insurance policy, kill an innocent person, and then organise fake identity papers for the murdered victim so they could claim the insurance money.

Last week the convicted fraudsters were sentenced on multiple counts, including premeditated murder for which the life sentences were imposed. In addition, they were found guilty of fraud, conspiracy to murder and racketeering. All of the sentences will run concurrently.

To this day the police still have no idea who the murder victims are. But their bodies were used to defraud insurance companies of hundreds of thousands as the criminals used fake identity documents to perpetrate the crimes.

Judge Mokgohloa said that the three had shown a callous disregard for human life, especially when considering the way the victims had been killed. They had been stabbed multiple times.

The judge said the fraud offences should be noted as the insurance industry had suffered losses amounting to billions of rands because of false claims. This caused a ripple effect, which resulted in the consumer absorbing the loss suffered. In the cases before the court, the affected companies were — Assupol Life to the tune of R36 000; FNB, R120 000; Regent Life R220 000 and Old Mutual R180 000.

Police became suspicious when dead victims had notes or documents claiming to link them to the same people who were their relatives.

Dimba (45) was identified as the kingpin of the operation and had collected more than R850 000 in insurance claims between November 2005 and March 2008. Peter Kerford, head of MMI insurance, said fraud cost SA’s insurance industry R669 million a year.

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