“Pseudocide”: Would You Fake Your Own Death?

Have you ever thought about faking your own death? Probably not, but for some people this idea has crossed their conscious. Pseudocide, also known as the act of faking one’s own death, may seem like a taboo concept but it not a not a rare one. According to an article titled Playing a Risky Game: People Who Fake Death for Big Money by Emmet Pierce,“ In 2016, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (CAIF) conducted a survey in which insurance companies were asked if the faking-a-death problem was slight, moderate or severe. Fake death fell into the moderate category,” (Pierce). Statistics on how many people a year fake their own death is very unclear as many of the “pseudocides” go unreported. Life insurance companies actually purposely do not report “pseudocides” in order to deter others from attempting it and to protect their companies from bad press. People who fake their own deaths will do because of financial issues, to avoid law enforcement and jail time, and even to“restart” a new life. Let me be clear, faking your own death is not considered a crime, but it could lead to future legal consequences. It comes to no surprise that majority of pseudocide cases are attributed to life insurance fraud. This is primarily due to the fact that some life insurance policies can guarantee some individuals up to $100,000 and in cases of wealthier individuals a payout into the millions. This form of fraud is very profitable as it can allow individuals to acquire extensive amounts of money without exerting very much effort. Therefore, life insurance companies who come into situations where their clients’ deaths appear to be mysterious or unexplained private investigators will be hired. Hiring private investigators to ensure that deaths reported by families of the deceased are in fact valid and not fraudulent. Cases of pseudocide always make huge headlines including the faked death of Alexandra Hatcher. This Virginia native attempted to commit pseudocide with the help of her husband to cash out on a life insurance policy worth over hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hatcher’s death certificate had claimed that she had sustained a life-threatening fall, however, that was not true as Hatcher was actually alive and well. In her efforts to defraud her life insurance company of hundreds of thousands of dollars, she forged her own death certificate and published her own death notice in the daily press. She continued about her scheme by using counterfeit checks to purchase and resell vehicles to other dealerships for cash. Luckily, law enforcement was able to catch onto the Hatcher’s plan and her and her husband were arrested before they were able to continue on with their lucrative scheme. Both were charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, possessing and uttering a counterfeit security of an organization, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. They both are currently facing up to thirty years in prison.

I personally would never think about faking my own death. I could not live a happy life without my family and friends by my side. Yes, you can capitalize off of faking your death, but its not really worth it in the end as what you will ultimately lose in the process outweighs the future benefits. For me family and friends are more important than money because thats something money can’t buy. Therefore, to all my common readers, legal fanatics, and those who have ever thought about faking their own death…how far would you go and is it all really worth it at the end of the day?


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