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I’ve written blogs on some of the most disastrous life insurance mistakes made by others in the past, but with the new year in full swing, I figured I would start things off with even more cautionary tales of life insurance.


A Failed Marriage

Marriages are supposed to be long-lasting and love-filled relationships, right? This certainly wasn’t the case for Julia Merfeld. In 2013, Merfeld attempted to cash in on her husband’s $400,000 life insurance policy by plotting his murder. Looking for assistance in the crime, Merfeld let one of her coworkers in on her devious plan. Immediately, her coworker notified the authorities and helped to set up a meeting between an undercover detective and Merfeld. The detective had recorded the meetings in which Merfeld laid out the plan for attack in great detail. Merfeld is now serving 5-20 years in prison.


This Story’s Worth An Arm and a Leg

Most people believe that life insurance policies are black-and-white; you either die and the policy is cashed in, or you live and you get nothing. This isn’t always the case. There are multiple different types of policies that can be cashed in. One such example is a dismemberment policy. Policyholder Michael LeDuc attempted to cash in on a dismemberment policy, however, he wasn’t dismembered, nor was he willing to chop off an arm or leg. So, in order to scam his agency, he faked the amputation of his arm, complete with forged medical documents citing he’d lost it in a wood chipper. Needless to say his insurance agency caught on immediately, and LeDuc was sentenced to 57 months in jail.


Darwin of the Dead

Contrary to the failed marriage story above, this story involves a couple working together to scam their life insurance agency. John and Anne Darwin, of Seaton Carew, UK, thought it would be a great idea to send John in a canoe and claim that he died along the way. At first, the scam worked, with the Darwins fooling authorities and even their sons. After Anne had collected enough money from the life insurance settlement, she and John moved to another country. Eventually, the Darwins were caught and paid the price for their crime.