Fraudster sentenced after £1m fake death claim

Michael Lloyd

January 17, 2020

A fraudster has been sentenced after he impersonated his wife on the phone to try and fake his own death in Pakistan and make a false life insurance claim worth a total of almost £1m.

Syed Bukhari, 39, who is currently serving seven years and 11 months in prison for unrelated fraud offences, was convicted at Inner London Crown Court.

He was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison, which will run consecutively to his current sentence.

It comes after a successful investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).

This resulted in Bukhari pleading guilty to one count of fraud by false representation a month earlier on 19 December 2019.

Acting Detective Sergeant Mike Monkton, who led the investigation for the City of London Police’s IFED, said: “Not only did Bukhari try and fake his own death and steal hundreds of thousands of pounds from his insurer, he was also brazen enough to impersonate his partner in a bid to progress his claim.

“If he’d been successful, he would’ve benefited up to the sum of £999,999, but thanks to the initial enquiries carried out by the insurer and their subsequent referral to IFED, we were able to uncover the full extent of his fraudulent activity and bring him to justice.”

IFED launched its investigation into Bukhari following a referral from an insurer which suspected Bukhari had tried to make a fake claim on his life insurance policy with them.

It was discovered that Bukhari had initially contacted his insurance company via email purporting to be his partner, claiming that he’d died from a heart attack in Karachi, Pakistan.

Bukhari also impersonated his partner on the phone in an attempt to validate the claim and progress it further.

However, a voice analysis expert compared Bukhari’s voice to the one on the calls allegedly made by his partner and determined that there was strong support to suggest that Bukhari was the ‘unknown speaker’.

IFED enquiries also revealed that Bukhari submitted fake documents to try and substantiate his claim including a medical certificate of cause of death, a death registration certificate and a trust document.

IFED tested the medical certificate for fingerprints and found three marks were identified as belonging to Bukhari.

The insurer instructed an independent claims investigation company which found no record of the death in the cemetery in Pakistan listed on the death certificate and no records of the alleged death at the Union Council Offices.

The investigator visited the supposed medical centre listed on the medical certificate of cause of death but could not find any sign of the premises existing in Karachi.

Despite this overwhelming evidence, Bukhari initially denied the fraud and said it was his partner who made the claim without his knowledge.

He later pleaded guilty at court.

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