Hall of Shame: Cow parts and mannequin hide dopey deathBy James Quiggle
July 12, 2011
Jim Davis died suddenly in his home, felled by a tragic heart attack.
Mourners stood by as his coffin was lowed into the ground during a touching graveside funeral at a Los Angeles cemetery. Peace eternal, Jim, peace eternal.
But Jim Davis never existed. He was pure vapor, and the coffin was empty. A mortuary worker and phlebotomist faked his death in a screwball scheme to steal nearly $1 million in life insurance.
And get this — the dizzy duo covered up their con with a mannequin and cow parts. Huh? Read on.
Using forged documents, Jean Crump, Faye Shilling and several other cronies convinced life insurers to issue $950,000 in coverage on so-called Davis. They bought the burial plot, staged his funeral, buried his casket and even hired mourners to enhance the surrealism.
But one life insurer still started nosing around. Crump and Shilling knew they were in trouble. Burying the evidence hadn’t worked, so they cremated it instead. And fast.
The pair exhumed the coffin, then filled it with the mannequin, cow meat and bones. They wanted to make the coffin heavy enough to avoid arousing the suspicion of mortuary workers lugging it to the crematorium.
For once, something went right. The coffin was seared to ashes.
The hapless Crump and Shilling also tried to bribe a doc to forge medical records supporting Davis’ death. But the doc would have none of it. He cooperated with the feds, wearing a wire and hidden camera that caught Shilling outlining the entire fraud plot.
Meanwhile, Jim Davis had good company. Crump and Shilling also invented the death of Laura Urich for $50,000 in life-insurance money.
Urich was real, once upon a time. The Arkansas woman had died of a heart attack about two years earlier. Crump and Shilling forged a new death certificate for her, but this plot bellyflopped as badly as their Davis caper.
The address listed on Urich’s death certificate was a Los Angeles strip mall. The document also had Urich’s Social Security number, but with only one digit changed.
Shilling received two years in federal prison, and Crump is still awaiting sentencing.
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