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A California man was sentenced to 212 years behind bars after intentionally driving his ex-wife and two autistic sons off a Los Angeles wharf as part of scheme to collect on insurance policies he had taken out on their lives.
Ali. F. Elmezayen’s plan, which claimed the lives of his 13-year-old and 8-year-old boys, was "evil and diabolical," United States District Judge John F. Walter said in court Thursday.
“He is the ultimate phony and a skillful liar…and is nothing more than a greedy and brutal killer,” Walter said, according to a statement from the Central District of California’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. “The only regret that the defendant has is that he got caught.”
Walter handed down the maximum sentence Thursday after a federal jury in October 2019 convicted Elmezayen, 45, of four counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and five counts of money laundering.
“Mr. Elmezayen conceived a cold-blooded plan to murder his autistic sons and their mother, then cash in on insurance policies,” acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said. “He now has ample time to reflect – from the inside of a federal prison cell – on where his greed and self-interest took him. We continue to grieve for those two helpless boys who deserved better from their father, who will never again walk among us as a free man.”
According to prosecutors, Elmezayen bought policies totaling more than $3 million in life and accidental death insurance for himself and his family members from eight different insurance companies between July 2012 and March 2013.
He began to purchase the policies the same year he had filed for bankruptcy and repeatedly called the insurance companies to verify the policies were active and would pay out if his ex-wife died in an accident. During some of the calls, he pretended to be his ex-wife, authorities said.
He also confirmed that at least two of the policies would not require investigations into claims made two years after the purchase date.
Less than two weeks after the two-year contestability period ran out on the last of his insurance policies, prosecutors said Elmezayen drove a car carrying his ex-wife and two youngest children off a wharf at the Port of Los Angeles, which served as a loading dock and worksite for fishermen.
Elmezayen escaped the sinking vehicle by swimming out the open driver’s side window of the car. His ex-wife, who did not know how to swim, also managed to survive after a nearby fisherman came to her aid, prosecutors said. The two boys, who were strapped into the car, drowned.
The couple’s third child had been at camp at the time and was not in the vehicle.
After the death of his children, prosecutors said Elmezayen collected more than $260,000 in insurance money and used the money to buy a boat and real estate in Egypt.
Prosecutors also alleged that he had “physically and emotionally” abused his ex-wife for years and neglected his children.
He was arrested by the FBI in November of 2018. He is also facing murder charges at the state level for the incident, NBC News reports.
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