A British-Indian businessman has been jailed in London after faking his own death to pocket a million pound life insurance policy.
Sanjay Kumar, 45, claimed to have died after contracting “brain fever” and even went so far as to obtain a fake death certificate as well as a certificate from a crematorium in Delhi saying his remains had been cremated.
His insurers Scottish Provident and Aviva however, became suspicious and sent investigators to India to make inquiries over Kumar’s supposed death and his £1.1 million claim.
Police investigators later found that Kumar and his wife Anju had been in serious debt after a string of companies that he had founded since the early 1990’s went bust.
Southwark Crown Court heard that dual British and Indian nationality holder Kumar had flown to Delhi on a business trip on 3 November 2011.
Days later he informed wife Anju, 46, that he had been hospitalized after falling seriously ill. By the end of the month, Mrs Kumar received an email informing her of her husband’s death and cremation.
The couple are then said to have attempted to claim the full life insurance policy of just over £1.1 million but were only paid £10,000 before they were arrested by the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department of the City of London Police.
Investigators found that the couple had twice re-mortgaged their home in Watford, Hertfordshire to pay off some of Kumar’s debt.
Prosecutors told the court that various fake documents apparently issued by a hospital in Delhi and the crematorium were obtained but although Kumar had been in hospital for a day it had been for a minor stomach ailment.
When the insurance companies balked, Anju Kumar even ‘instructed lawyers to fight the refusal of the claims’.
After realising his fraud had largely failed, Kumar returned to the UK under a false name to reunite with his wife, but was quickly arrested.
Investigators later found that Anju Kumar had transferred some £1500 to her husband in India through Western Union just two days after his apparent death.
When Mrs Kumar was arrested she denied being responsible for the fraud.
Sentencing, Judge David Higgins called the now-separated couple ‘thieves’ and said the fraud was ‘sustained, relatively sophisticated and very serious’.
Sanjay Kumar was jailed for two-and-a-half years while his wife received a five-month jail term suspended for two years.