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Woman fakes mother's death, jailed 2 years

by Staff reporter
28 Jul 2014 at 07:32hrs | Views
A 43-YEAR-OLD woman from Masvingo will spend the next two years in jail for attempting to defraud Old Mutual of $5,000 through presenting a fake death certificate claiming her mother, who is a beneficiary in the life insurance policy, had died.

Masvingo provincial magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso convicted Getrude Mukokovondo of Runyararo West on her own plea of guilty last Thursday and sentenced her to two- and-a-half years in prison.

Six months were conditionally suspended for five years.

In passing sentence, Mudzongachiso said Mukokovondo, a policy holder with Old Mutual, displayed the highest degree of dishonesty and fraud tendencies through misrepresenting facts.

"The court considered the accused was not successful in defrauding Old Mutual although her intentions were clear. The accused did not waste court's time when she pleaded guilty to the charge of fraud but the court will not lose sight of the fact her case was premeditated," he said.

"Worse still she obtained a death certificate through unorthodox means because the referred beneficiary is not dead. Therefore the accused deserves a deterrent sentence that will send a clear message to would-be offenders. She has committed a serious offence of intending to prejudice a company."

In mitigation, Mukokovondo said she committed the crime out of desperation.

"I had many debts that I wanted to offset. I tried to seek assistance from my acquaintances to no avail. I also phoned Old Mutual regretting what I had done but they went ahead by filing a report to the police," she said.

Prosecutors say Mukokovondo, who is not employed, falsely applied for a death certificate purporting that her beneficiary and mother, Theresa Talent (age not given) had died.

"On July 3, 2013 Mukokovondo obtained a death certificate after she misrepresented facts to the effect that Talent had passed on. Armed with the death certificate, on July 5, she tendered the document to the Old Mutual Company together with benefits claim forms claiming $5,000. Talent was the accused person's beneficiary," said Shamiso Masokovere prosecuting.

The matter came to light when Old Mutual did its verification process leading to the discovery that the applicant had actually misrepresented facts, the court heard.

The company then made an official report to the police leading to Mukokovondo's arrest.

Source - chronicle