1939: Panama Lady – Jack Hively
Financial Planning may involve providing sufficient financial protection for your family and perhaps your business, but it is a rare event when someone returns from the dead. You may remember the case of Mr and Mrs Darwin, who faked the death (lost at sea in his canoe) of Mr Darwin resulting in life assurance and pension policies providing his “widow” with funds of just over £500,000. The extent of the deception was such that it even included pretending that the death was genuine to their own children, which of course raises lots of questions.
The couple, who had begun to make a new life for themselves in Panama  (nothing quite like the cliche is there!) were eventually tracked down and their deception exposed. They were both convicted of fraud in 2008 and are currently forming part of the numbers residing at her Majesty’s pleasure. The CPS have now announced that they have fully recovered all of the proceeds of the fraud and are due to return this to the pension and life assurance companies concerned. The numbers are of course one part of this story, the other is the costs – both to the legal system and the family and friends of those connected to the Darwins. A sad tale of very poor decisions. Of course, should either of them now want life assurance any application would be declined due to their track record.  This reminds me to remind clients, that when you complete an application form, you need to answer honestly. If you smoke, make sure you state this – even if you consider it a rare occurrence, this could be interpreted as a false statement and will make any future application somewhat difficult to secure. Amnesia is not a very compelling excuse.
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