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People Who Got Caught Faking Their Own Deaths

Updated June 14, 2019 590.5k views14 items

If you’re Googling how to fake your own death right now, you might want to read this list. There are a few things you should probably know that these people who faked their own deaths learned the hard way. First up, don’t be found alive and well (that's a big one). That's exactly what happened to the people listed here - all of whom were caught faking their own deaths.

You've got to be careful when you’re passing off someone else’s ashes as your own, or whatever it is you're doing to fake your untimely demise. What sorts of things should you avoid and what lessons can you learn from those who haven't succeeded at this strange goal? Definitely don't walk into a police station five years after you fake your own death, pretending you have amnesia. Chances are, the police will think something is up. You also shouldn't fax suicide notes to the authorities if you don’t have a good hiding place. Otherwise, you’ll only be fake dead for a few hours.

Take a look at these people who tried to do the Grim Reaper's job for him, whether they wanted to escape their family, friends, or responsibilities.
  • John Darwin Stages His Own Drowning, Blew His Cover Five Years Later

    Photo: Garden State Hiker / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    To escape credit card debt, Darwin made it look at though he drowned while canoeing in the North Sea. He snuck back home and lived there with his wife for five years, collecting life insurance and having their mortgage paid off. But when he couldn’t continue on without seeing his children, he decided to pretend that he had amnesia and walked into a police station.

    He and his wife were quickly discovered and he was forced to forfeit his pension funds and pay back the funds he and his wife had obtained.

  • Dentist Faked His Death for Insurance

    Photo: Devon and Cornwall Police
    Emmanouil Parisis faked his death in a car crash in his native Jordan, moved to Aberdeenshire and changed his name to Neil McClaren. He cashed in on 15 different insurance policies, garnering £1.85 million (equivalent to somewhere around $2.5 million). He and his wife were later discovered as frauds, along with another family member.
  • Japanese Business Man and His Friends Fake His Death to Escape Debt

    Photo: Tim1965 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Ichiro Ogushi’s trading company was in serious financial debt when he decided to fake his own death for insurance payouts to the tune of $5.8 million. He asked a friend in Thailand to help him fake his death and pass off someone else’s ashes as his remains. The Japanese embassy in Bangkok determined that the death certificate was fake and forensic tests could not conclude that the ashes were Ogushi’s.
  • Florida Man Fakes Death for 20 Years, to Learn He Was Never Wanted by the Cops

    Photo: Weaverville Police

    Bennie Wint faked his death in 1989 when he thought he was about to be brought up on drug charges in Florida. He appeared to drown in the ocean, leaving behind a grieving fiancée and four-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. In 2009, Wint was pulled over for a routine traffic in South Carolina and he was discovered to be using a false name.

    He confessed to faking his own death and discovered that the cops in Florida weren’t after him in the first place.