A Toronto couple has pled guilty to numerous counts of fraud in a scheme that police say fleeced several life insurance companies of over $1 million.
The Toronto Police Service said Tuesday that Alireza Shojaei, 45, and his wife, Koukab Shojaei, 41, who were both charged with four counts of fraud over $5,000 last July, have now pled guilty.
Police alleged that the couple defrauded several insurance companies of life insurance money. The companies involved are London Life Insurance Co., Great-West Life Assurance, Desjardin Financial Security Life Assurance Co., and State Farm International Life Insurance Co. Ltd., and police say they believe there may be more victims.
According to police, between 2006 and 2008, the husband purchased several life insurance policies, totaling $3.525 million, which named his wife as the beneficiary. In 2008, they travelled to Iran, where the husband supposedly died of a heart attack. It says the wife then initiated the claim process with each of the companies, which sparked an investigation by the insurers, who could not confirm his death.
In June 2009, while the claims were still under investigation, the wife started civil litigation against the insurance companies, claiming damages in excess of $10 million. In September 2010, the insurers settled with the wife, paying out $1,010,000.
However, the husband later turned up in California. In September 2010, he flew into Los Angeles from Iran through Rome using his Canadian passport. And, in November 2010, the wife bought a house in Mission Viejo, Ca. with the insurance payout. In February 2013, U.S. Marshals arrested the couple in Los Angeles, and they were later extradited to Toronto to face the charges.