Dumb crook of the day caught by a friend’s dedication to Elvis

Wife, hubby – and some dead singer

A father of four who faked his own death to claim more than £850,000 in insurance was caught when a friend attempted to use his HMV staff discount card to buy an Elvis CD, a court heard.

Hugo Jose Sanchez, 57, who worked as a web designer for the music retailer, orchestrated an elaborate plot involving his wife Sophie to embezzle a fortune and start a new life in Central America…

Oxford Crown Court heard that Sanchez was working as a web designer for HMV and living in Farnham, Surrey, when he came up with his plan in 2003.

Over the following year he took out seven separate credit cards and built up large debts, before applying for a £500,000 life insurance policy. He also had loans with payment protection that would be paid in full in the event of his death…

Sanchez took out another series of loans before flying to Ecuador alone. In 2005 his wife informed the authorities that her husband had died and his remains had been cremated. On production of his death certificate she collected large sums from the insurers before returning to Central America. She also received a death benefit payment of £112,000 from HMV and began to receive pension payments.

The couple then moved to Sydney, but the authorities had already uncovered their plot due to an attempt by a friend of Sanchez, Malcolm Jackson, to use the HMV staff discount card. Simon Heptonstall, prosecuting said: “This scheme began to unravel with a simple CD purchase. Mr Sanchez had given his staff discount card to a good friend, having said it had been approved by HMV.”

Mr Jackson was arrested and tried to ring his friend from the police station. Sanchez hung up but inquiries uncovered the fraud.

Sanchez was extradited from Australia in March following a request from Thames Valley Police’s economic crime unit.

Har! That some crooks have sufficient ego problems they must bring their friends in on the fraud – and offer stupid largesse like giving someone a charge card – is almost beyond belief.

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