Murder to collect the life insurance money is not just the stuff of mystery novels and formulaic TV dramas with the words “law” and “order” in the title. Authorities in Merced, California have arrested a total of four suspects in the fatal shooting of a 39-year old man on suspicion that he was killed for his coverage benefits
The suspects include the man’s wife, stepson, 25-year-old daughter, and the daughter’s 16-year-old boyfriend. The slain policy holder, Alberto Rodriquez Macias, was covered by life insurance totaling $1 million. In March, Macias was found with two gunshot wounds to the head. Both the wife and stepson have pleaded not guilty. The juveniles are being held in the Merced County Juvenile Hall.
Police have said they believe the wife, Laura Hernandez, orchestrated the plot and the 16-year-old boyfriend, who will be tried as an adult, pulled the trigger. Hernandez, however, also tested positive for gunshot residue indicating she either fired a weapon or was in the vicinity of a weapon when it was fired.
In addition to physical evidence and an inconsistent timeline, incriminating text messages were exchanged amongst the defendants including one from Hernandez to the boyfriend that read, “Do it whenever you want because I want to be with my kids now please Edgar.” Hernandez insists the message referred to the family dog.
Sadly, all types of insurance fraud go up in tough economic times. Most of the time it’s automotive or homeowner’s fraud, but cases like this do happen. Remember, however, that these cases are the exception not the rule and should not discourage you from taking out life insurance that will provide vital protection to your family in the event of your death.
While the Macias case is surely a cautionary tale, it’s not one so much against insurance as against family dysfunction gone awry!