There have been many sensational news stories and countless movies over the years involving people faking their own death. There is the classic premise to avoid capture by fellow thieves or law enforcement. However, a man who once called Plymouth, Minnesota, home did it for the insurance money.
After being caught in 2017 while in Moldovia, the man pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. The charges were mail fraud tied to a scheme where the money was paid to his former-wife seven years ago. According to the Star-Tribune, the man now likely faces 3 ½ years of prison time, although the maximum sentence of 20 years. The sentencing hearing will be July 29. The wife and son have also been convicted – the wife identified the body and then had it cremated before returning to the U.S. with a death certificate in hand. Unfortunately for the family, someone tipped off authorities that the man was alive.
A cautionary tale
This fantastical story received coverage around the world for obvious reason. Nevertheless, it is also an essential reminder to individuals and families that estate law matters are important legal issues. Those that try to cover up information, falsify records, conspire with family members (or against them), risk the chance of changing this civil matter to a criminal one similar to the man in jail.
Honesty is the best policy
It is essential for trustees, executors and others to be honest and forthright in all matters relating to the settling of an estate. Not only does it cause fewer headaches and assume no risks, but it is also the best way to honor the memory of the deceased.