The Dumbest Insurance Fraud Attempts Ever: #10

Four Women Faked Death of a Fake Man

There are many insurance fraud cases where the fraudster fakes injury or even death. However, four women from Los Angeles decided to bring insurance scam to another level by faking not only that a person died but even the person who was supposed to die. The elaborate scheme included making up fictitious people, purchasing insurance policies, waiting for them to mature, arranging fake funerals with caskets filled with various items to simulate the weight of a corpse and issuing bogus death certificates.


The masterminds of the whole operation Jean Crump, a 67-year old mortuary worker and Faye Schilling, a 61-year old nurse phlebotomist were very skilled at creating fictional deaths, staging bogus funerals and collecting fraudulent insurance money. They were even able to pull off the cremation of a woman who had actually died years earlier in Arkansas. They were successfully looting insurance company until two insurance companies became suspicious about the case of Mr. Jim Davis.

Jim Davis, a divorced contractor created in Jean Crump’s imagination, died of a heart attack at his home in Los Angeles in 2006. Luckily for him, he did not die for real but only on paper. But then again, he was only born on paper. The funeral of this fictitious man was small with only two close relatives and mortuary staff. Again,the ladies buried a casket without a body and submitted false life-insurance claims. The plan was to collect four life-insurance policies totalling $1.25 million claiming to be Davis’ niece. The two and their accomplices also bilked several lending companies of more than $40,000 to cover the funeral expenses. They made four bogus invoices claiming that the funeral was held at three different mortuaries.


One of the insurance companies hired a private investigator to check into the claims who contacted the doctor listed on the death certificate. When the fraudsters learned about the investigation, they exhumed Davis’ body to destroy evidence of their crime.

Before the casket was sent to the crematorium, they filled the casket with a mannequin and cow bones so that the crematory employees would not become suspicious. The casket was cremated and Crump, Schilling and their associates reported the cremation to the county stating that the remains had been scattered at sea.


The scheme was revealed in 2007 when a doctor who was contacted by Crump and Schilling to become part of their plot informed the FBI. The doctor was already in trouble for unlawfully prescribing Oxycodone and was cooperating with the FBI. With the doctors help, the FBI recorded his meeting with the fraudsters where they explained him their scams and asked him to prepare false death certificates and medical records.

Crump was sentenced to one and a half years in prison and ordered to pay $315,000 in restitution. Shilling received a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty. The two other women also pleaded guilty in connection with the scam and received probation.

The LSM’s Take:

The so called master minds likely took out multiple policies to avoid the fictions person from having to complete a medical which would be quite the trick. The larger the policy and the older the insured the more likely a medical will have to be completed.

Insurance companies are also much more vigilant now than in the past about verifying the insured’s identity, part of this is in response to money laundering schemes.

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