California Man Arrested for Faking Death

August 3, 2011

A Southern California man and his wife were arrested Monday on suspicion of faking the man’s death in 2004 so their family could receive life insurance and other death benefits, authorities said.

Authorities received a tip that the man, Lucio Rodriguez, 52, was still alive. After an investigation, he was arrested in Fontana while working for a Riverside County trucking company where he was employed under an alias, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.

His wife, Rosa Carrasco, 53, was arrested several hours later at her job at a Macy’s department store at the South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa, Amormino said.

The couple somehow produced an authentic death certificate from Mexico in 2004 that declared Rodriguez had died of cardiac arrest, Amormino said.

Rodriguez had been living under the name Santiago Carrasco and received both a Social Security number and a driver’s license under the new name. The pictures on the driver’s licenses under each name are very similar, Amormino said, and the thumbprints on record for each of them match.

Since 2004, Carrasco and her four children have received more than $500,000 in Social Security and Teamsters union benefits, and a still-undetermined amount from life insurance payments, Amormino said.

“They’ll be charged with a wide variety of crimes: fraud, burglary, grand theft, ID theft,” Amormino said. He did not know if they had retained an attorney.

The couple had lived together in Santa Ana after the death certificate was produced but had separate addresses at the time of their arrests, Amormino said.

Topics California

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