Fake Death Sentencing

A pensioner from Kent has been jailed for six years for faking his own death in Central America to claim a £520,000 life insurance payout.

66 year old Anthony McErlean from Petham, near Canterbury submitted a claim in his wife's name, saying he had died after being run over by a truck in Honduras on December 6 2009.

The fake certificateHe even produced a faked witness statement which said the crash had happened as he was changing a tyre and farm workers took the body to a small village called Santa Rosa de Aguan.

But officials at Ace European insurance company became suspicious, and instead of paying out the money, they contacted the Insurance Fraud Bureau, which then called in police.

Detectives arrested McErlean and found him with a credit card in the name of Green. It emerged he had not only faked his own death but had been claiming pensions relating to his late father-in-law from a previous marriage who died in March 2007.

McErlean, of Swarling Hill Road, Petham, has pleaded guilty to a series of charges, including fraudulently making a claim to Ace European insurance firm, fraudulently obtaining a passport and two counts of theft from a pension fund from the Port of London Authority totalling some £27,000 and £40,658 from the Department of Work and Pensions.

The charge relating to the passport was laid after McErlean applied for a new passport, despite being given strict bail conditions ordering him not to apply for any travel documents.

Officers from the Serious and Economic Crime Unit at Kent Police intercepted the new passport and McErlean was re-arrested on March 28 on the M6 in Staffordshire.

Glen Marr, director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, said: "The insurance industry takes all form of insurance fraud very seriously. This shows the positive results that can be achieved by the insurance industry and law enforcement working in unison.

"Our industry is no longer an easy target for these criminals and we are determined to protect our genuine customers.''

Hear an interview with Martin Bradbury; a fraud investigator with Kent police

Martin Bradbeer speaking to Sky's Darren Little