A husband and wife have been sentenced after he faked his death in a bid to collect more than £1.1 million from life insurance policies and investments.
The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) revealed that Anju Kumar told five insurers that her husband Sanjay Kumar (pictured) had died of ‘brain fever', and been cremated in India on 25th November 2011.
She alleged he had travelled to the country days before and sent her an email stating he had been taken ill.
Enquiries conducted by insurers Aviva and Scottish Provident revealed no record of 46-year-old Sanjay being treated for a life threatening illness or having been admitted to hospital.
There was also no cause of death certificate, only a bogus death certificate, and no evidence that the crematorium actually existed.
The person with whom Sanjay was reported to have stayed with in India also denied knowing him.
Scottish Provident referred the information into the City of London Police's IFED which launched an investigation.
IFED detectives found that Sanjay was in significant financial debt with several failed businesses behind him.
They also uncovered that Anju had used a Western Union transfer to send £1,500 to her husband in India on 27th November 2011 - two days after she alleged he had died - and that he collected it.
Detectives traced Sanjay as having flown back to the UK from India under the alias ‘Sanjay Vig' on 17th August 2012.
Shortly afterwards, Anju was arrested at the couple's house in Watford.
Sanjay was arrested at a police station on 11th September and his mobile phone was seized - messages detailed the specifics of the fraud.
On 28th April 2014 at Southwark Crown Court, Sanjay pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud by false representation while Anju pleaded guilty to two counts of the same offence relating to invested money that she fraudulently claimed.
At the same court earlier today, Sanjay was jailed for two-and- a-half years for counts one to three and six months for counts four to six to run concurrently. Anju was handed a five month jail term for count one and five months for count two to run concurrently and suspended for two years.
DC Tom Hill, who led the investigation, said: "Sanjay Kumar's answer to building up substantial debt was to fake his own death in India and let his wife cash in their investments. Unfortunately for the couple their tale of supposed tragedy quickly fell apart under scrutiny by insurers and IFED, with the uncovering of one lie exposing several more from the Kumars as they attempted get their hands on a massive payout.
"Now that he is behind bars they will have time to reflect on whether making fraudulent claims is the right way to go when faced with financial troubles."
Kevin Carr, chief executive of the Protection Review commented: "This case shows that there is very little point in trying to pull the wool over insurers eyes. They have significant resources and experience when it comes to fraud and there will always be an investigation, especially for such a large amount.
"However, if our industry did more to promote and explain key issues around claims maybe there would be more trust and less fraud."