A death hoax fraudster from Kent has appeared in a new book written by an insurance investigator.
Author John Saunders says he has met 500 people who claim to be dead during his 30-year career.
One of those is Anthony McErlean from Faversham who was insured for £500,000 and was said to have ‘died’ after being hit by a cabbage truck in Honduras.
He filled in documents under his wife’s name which said he had been hit and killed by the truck in Central America.
But unlike so-called Canoe Man John Darwin, who fooled insurers into making a payout, McErlean did not get a penny.
He was undone when his fingerprints were traced on his forged death certificate.
Writing in his book, Mr Saunders says: “It was an accidental death policy. You can take out a policy for accidental death for half a million pounds for ten quid a month. Life insurance would cost you £1,000.
“An American friend wrote a statement to the UK insurers telling how they had left home early to go bird watching when their car broke down.
“They were fixing it when a truck full of cabbages knocked them over, killing Anthony. Anthony was cremated — a rare event in a Catholic country like Honduras. We asked for a large number of documents but his wife kept maintaining they were not available.
“I was asked to go to Honduras but I decided to wait. I knew he’d had substantial debts and had sold his house in Kent.”
The insurance investigator made inquiries with McErlan’s neighbours in Faversham and got an unexpected call soon after when one of them spotted the dead man and his wife in Sainsbury’s nearby.
Police later arrested McErlean and he was jailed for five years.
Mr Saunders added: “Police even found the dead man’s fingerprints on his own death certificate!”
McErlean had another tangle with the law in 2019.
The conman was sent back behind bars for posing as a will writer to swindle a 94-year-old man out of his home.
The 76-year-old, who was living in Union Road, Canterbury, at the time obtained power of attorney over George Manwill and moved him into an old people’s residence after helping him sell his house during 2016.
He then tried to purchase a £39,000 necklace from a city jewellers with the pensioner’s money and bought a £16,000 Audi, claiming he needed it to ferry the pensioner to his medical appointments.
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