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  • Dean Smith

7 Dumbest Mistakes in Fake Death Scams

Faking your own death to get-rich-quick is obviously a desperate endeavor. Celia Seupel, who posted an article to CNBC about these scams featured on “American Greed: The Fugitives”, reports that Dennis Jay, a spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud says, “it’s hard for people to stay off the grid year after year.”

Here are 7 “fake death” scams in which the “dead” have risen, and have gotten caught:

1. Clayton Daniels and wife, Molly, faked his death so he would stay out of jail and collect a $110,000 life insurance policy. However, their plan went awry when DNA testing revealed that the corpse they removed from a grave, dressed in Clayton’s clothes, and burned in a “car crash” was indeed a female.

2. Raul Pero, a resident of Los Angeles, took a trip to his homeland, Chile, and unfortunately “died” while away. Gloria Alcaraz, Pero’s roommate, called West Coast Life to claim his insurance policy. A problem arose when Alcaraz happened to call the day BEFORE the issuing of his death certificate.

3. Sometimes, you think you’ve got all ends covered. You fake your death, change your name, but if you’re Philip Sessarago (formerly), you decide to write a best-selling book. The name change to Tom Carew wasn’t enough, because he was recognized in a tv interview after the release of his book, Jihad!

4. Raymond Roth of Long Island, NY, faked his death with the help of his son, Jonathan. Not even a month after “dying”, Roth was pulled over for speeding in Santee, South Carolina.

5. Harry Gordon was once a millionaire, an Australian businessman who faked his death. He was discovered by his own brother halfway across the world, hiking on Mount Maunganui in Tauranga, New Zealand. Gordon’s brother convinced Gordon’s “widow” to turn him in.

6. Anthony McErlean allegedly died in Honduras after being hit by a truck. According to Seupel, “maybe he blew it when he called the life insurance company pretending to be his wife.” But the best part of the scam was that his fingerprints were on his fake “death certificate”.

7. Ahmad Akhtary received a fake death certificate from Afghanistan and his wife collected his 300,000 pounds of life insurance; but Akhtary continued to live, work, and pay taxes in Gloucester, England, without changing his name. Six months after the scam began, Akhtary went to the doctor for what he though was a routine visit, but the couple was officially caught.

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