Man jailed for trying to cash in on his brother’s death from Covid-19
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A man who tried to claim £520,000 in life insurance payments after the death of his brother from Covid-19 has been jailed.
Daniel Banete, 30, of Lillington Road, Coventry, was sentenced to three years imprisonment at Warwick Crown Court on 6 December 2022 after previously pleading guilty to eight charges of fraud by false representation. He was also ordered to pay a £190 victim surcharge.
He took out four different life insurance policies in his brother’s name, after his sibling died in Romania in 2020.
Banete took out the policies between 16 to 21 July 2020, but his brother had passed away in hospital from Covid-19 on 8 July 2020. He then provided fake death certificates to the insurance companies with different dates of death between November 2020 to January 2021 to try and claim the settlements.
Detective Constable Ian Cambridge, from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said:
“Banete took out these policies after his brother died with the cynical intention of making financial gain for himself.
“He altered official documents to intentionally deceive the insurers and the overwhelming evidence against him shows that he knew exactly that he was doing.”
The scam came to light after Aviva, one of the insurers Banete had taken out a policy with, arranged for a Romanian member of staff to speak to the hospital Banete’s brother died at and they confirmed the correct date of death.
The insurer was also able to provide an IP address where the policy was taken out and enquiries revealed that it was Banete at his home address.
Jacqueline Kerwood, Claims Philosophy Manager, Protection at Aviva, said:
“This sentencing makes the point that insurance fraud is a crime and if you commit insurance fraud, it is likely you will be caught and prosecuted. Aviva has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud because fake claims put pressure on the cost of premiums for honest customers who rely on financial protection provided by life insurance policies.”
During a search at Banete’s house, officers found policy documents relating to the life insurance policies for the four insurance companies.
Officers also found a file of fake death certificates which showed a date of death as 10 November 2020, and it was these documents that were sent to the insurers when the claims were made.
IFED officers also found a folder which contained Banete’s brother’s real birth, marriage and death certificates.
Banete was arrested and during his police interview, answered no comment to all questions.