- Somali-born UK citizen spent thousands on furniture which she could not repay
- She also wanted to bring relatives in a Tanzanian refugee camp to the UK
- Her son claimed she had died in a car crash in Zanzibar while she hid in Canada
- Insurers were suspicious and, after police investigated, pair admitted fraud
Arafa Nassib has been jailed for two and half years for faking her own death to claim a life insurance pay out
A mother who faked her own death to claim a life insurance payout has been jailed for two and a half years.
Arafa Nassib, 48, racked up huge debts buying expensive furniture for her rented flat in Walsall, West Midlands from firms including website BrightHouse and PerfectHome.
But, unable to pay off the massive sums, she hatched a plot for her teenage son, Adil Kasim, to claim that she had been killed in a road accident in Zanzibar so he could claim a £140,000 life insurance payout.
Nassib secretly fled to Ottowa, Canada, but was rumbled after her insurers, Scottish Widows, grew suspicious of the claim and alerted police.
The mother and son later admitted conspiring to commit fraud at Birmingham Crown Court.
Jailing Nassib today, Recorder William Edis QC said: 'It was from beginning to end a pack of lies. This was an organised, sophisticated, carefully-designed plan that came close to working.
'Had Tanzania not been flagged as a high-risk country [for insurance fraud] it is reasonable to suppose you might have got away with it.
'Honesty in the insurance claims process is imperative, else the whole insurance system is at risk.'
Arafa Nassib and her son Adil Kasim face jail after she faked her own death in a bid to pay off huge debts she had built up on furniture
This was the fake death certificate sent to insurers by Nassib's son, even though she was alive and well and hiding out in Canada
The court heard that, as well as having £80,000 in credit debts, Nassib was also trying to find an additional £80,000 to pay for people smugglers to bring members of her family, living in a Tanzanian refugee camp, to the UK.
Nassib and her son claimed she had been killed in a road accident on the African island in April last year.
A family friend in Africa supplied fake documents relating to her death, and her son wrote to their insurer from the UK.
But insurers became highly suspicious of the fake documents Kasim provided and referred the case to City of London Police.
An investigation found Nassib was alive and had in fact flown to back to Birmingham in May 2016, where she made several phone calls to her son.
Nassib fled to Canada after getting her son to claim she had died
To avoid detection she then moved from their property in the West Midlands to Canada, where she hoped to build a new life for herself.
But her son was arrested last December and he admitted that he and his mother had planned the fraud. Officers arrested Nassib when she returned to the UK in February.
Nassib, originally from Somalia but a holder of a UK passport, admitted knowing her death had been fraudulently reported to the government in Zanzibar when she was there in April 2016.
Her son was given a 12-month community order.
The judge said that Kasim, then aged 17, had been a necessary 'pawn in this game' with his mother acting as the directing force of the fraud.
Judge Edis said he was not ashamed of the 'lenient' sentence being handed to the teenager, telling him: 'You could not complain were I to send you to a young offenders' institution.
'You were fed a script and parroted it. You were in effect certifying somebody dead who you knew to be alive.'
The two insurance policies, a life insurance and a critical illness policy, totalled £136,530.52, but no money was paid out in relation to the claim.
Adil Kasim sent this letter to Scottish Widows as part of his application for the payout
Detective Constable Daryl Fryatt said: 'Nassib and Kasim exploited the insurance industry for their own monetary gain, going to great lengths to try and avoid detection.
'Nassib moved her entire life abroad simply to try and avoid the possible consequences of faking her own death.
'Today's case shows that those who commit insurance fraud will be caught and put before the courts.
'Our extensive work with the insurers in this case has led us to a successful conviction and these unremorseful fraudsters have finally been brought to justice.'
A spokesperson for Scottish Widows said: 'We have robust fraud prevention measures which enabled us to identify this fraud quickly and refer it to the City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department.'