The R1 million insurance scam that went wrong

MARCH 23, 2015

How far would you go to make a quick buck on insurance claims? In a case that sounds as if taken from a movie script, a KwaZulu Natal woman has shown how far greedy people can go to make a huge payday – by just paying insurance premiums for a few months and ‘killing’ strangers from the system. 

According to the KwaZulu Natal police, members from the Durban Commercial Crime arrested four suspects around Durban aged between 26 and 45 for insurance fraud last Wednesday following a suspicious R1 Million life cover claim lodged with 1life insurance.

The police say in July of 2014, the 45-year-old suspect from Siyanda in KwaMashu was allegedly in possession of an identity document of a Mondli Dube whom she did not know. She got another male person to call the insurance company and took a life cover as Mondli Dube, made herself a sole beneficiary and she started paying premiums of R319 per month.

In January 2015, after six months of paying monthly premiums, she thought it was time to cash in. Her dilemma was that she needed a body in order to start the claim proceedings.

She got in touch with a funeral parlour who allegedly put her in contact with a lady who works at the mortuary in King Edward, the 54-year-old mortuary employee allegedly confirmed that there was a body of a person who died in a car accident and was brought in as an unknown, the lady was promised R10 000 for making the body available.

Once the body huddle was overcome, the lady still needed somebody with a surname matching the one she has on the Identity document, again the 42-year-funeral parlour 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.   

The two allegedly went to King Edward Hospital as brother and sister to identify their brother. Indeed they saw the body and positively identified him as their youngest brother. The neighbour produced his identity document and the body was removed to the private mortuary to arrange for funeral proceedings.

Running parallel to the funeral arrangements is the claiming process with the insurance company.  Before the claim processes could be finalised a funeral had to be held. The costs were a bit heavy so the team allegedly opted for a cremation which would cost less. They were going to cremate a body they did not know.

On Monday, 16 March 2015 a body was taken to kwaMashu for the family to have a service before cremating the body the following day.

Indeed the body was driven to Siyanda where there was a tent erected and a service was held. The service was held in another house where the owner was promised R20 000 for allowing the proceedings to be held in his house. The body was returned back to the parlour to be cremated.

The Commercial Crime Members who were conducting an investigation on this claim stopped the cremation. 

On Wednesday, 18 March 2015 the claimants were called in at 1life insurance offices to sign documents, the 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 last arrest was that of the 45-year-old funeral parlour.

Investigations revealed that Mondli Dube who is alive lost his identity document when his car was broken into.

The last arrest was on Thursday, 19 March 2015 at King Edward Hospital where a 54 year-old employee was arrested. 

When the investigators looked at the mortuary registers, they discovered that the body came in as an unknown and sometime later it was given a name of Mondli Dube.

The body will go back to the government mortuary as an unknown.

All the arrested suspects were charged with fraud and appeared at the Durban Commercial Crime Court on Friday.