212 Years in Prison for Man’s Kill-the-Sons Scheme for the Insurance Money
Photo: Ali Elmezayen
LOS ANGELES – United States District Judge John F. Walter sentenced a Hawthorne man to 212 years in federal prison for intentionally killing his children for the insurance proceeds. The March 11th sentence was handed to Ali F. Elmezayen (45) of Hawthorne – imposing the maximum sentence allowed by law, noting Elmezayen’s “evil and diabolical scheme” as well as the “vicious and callous nature of his crimes.”
Elmezayen intentionally traveled to the Port of Los Angeles on 04/09/2015, and drove his ex- wife and two disabled sons off a wharf – to collect on multiple accidental death insurance policies. The boys, who were trapped in the car, drowned.
At the site of the crash – a loading dock and worksite for commercial fishermen – the perpetrator swam out of the open driver’s side window of the car. His ex-wife, unable to swim, survived due to a flotation device thrown her way by a nearby fisherman.
The severely-autistic 8- and 13-year-old sons were strapped into the vehicle and drowned. A third son was away at camp at the time.
The date of the killings occurred 12 days after a two-year contestability period on the last of multiple insurance policies expired. Elmezayen proceeded with the sinister scheme which had been hatched to collect on accidental death insurance policies he had taken out on the boys’ lives.
After the premeditated murder, Elmezayen collected $260,000+ in accidental-death policy insurance proceeds from Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance and American General Life Insurance. Part of the money was used to purchase real estate and a boat in Egypt.
His dastardly scheme included the purchase of over $3 million of life and accidental death insurance policies on himself and his family. The premiums in excess of $6,000 per year for these policies were paid yearly, yet he reported income of less than $30,000 per year on his tax returns.
As well, the policy purchases from 8 different companies began during the year of his exit of a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceeding – and continued to be bought from July 2012 to March 2013.
The jury was presented with recorded telephone-call evidence of Elmezayen repeatedly calling the insurance companies, at times posing as his ex-wife without her knowledge (and in whose name he had obtained some of the policies.) He’d verify that the policies were active and confirmed that they’d pay benefits if his ex-wife died in an accident.
Evidence presented further calls Elmezayen made to at least two insurance companies, confirming that they’d not investigate claims made two years after the policies were purchased.
A federal jury took nine days in October 2019 to find the defendant guilty of four counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and five counts of money laundering. “He is the ultimate phony and a skillful liar…and is nothing more than a greedy and brutal killer,” Judge Walter said. “The only regret that the defendant has is that he got caught.”
FBI agents arrested Elmezayen in November 2018 and he has been in federal custody ever since. Elmezayen’s lies were broad in scope – to law enforcement officers, insurance companies, and regarding the extent of the insurance purchased on his family as well as civil litigation he filed concerning the crash.
The Office of the United States Attorneys, U.S. Department of Justice, Central District of California reported that he also attempted to persuade witnesses to lie to law enforcement and say he’d given the insurance proceeds to charity.
This case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation, with substantial assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Port Police, and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander C.K. Wyman of the Major Frauds Section and David T. Ryan of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section were the Prosecutors.
“Today Ali Elmezayen was held accountable for his actions, which directly led to the tragic death of his two sons. It is unthinkable that any father would jeopardize the lives of his family for his own financial gain,” stated Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner of IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS-CI is proud to work alongside our law enforcement partners to help bring some closure to this horrifying scheme.”
Judge Walter also ordered Elmezayen to pay $261,751 in restitution to the defrauded insurance companies.
“[Elmezayen] murdered his disabled children and attempted to murder his ex-wife for money,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum. “After years of physically and emotionally abusing his ex-wife and neglecting the children, [Elmezayen] bought $3.4 million in insurance on their lives, waited for two years so the insurance companies would not contest his claims, and then drove them into the ocean, leaving them to drown. That was [Elmezayen’s] fraudulent scheme. It was also premeditated murder.”
“Mr. Elmezayen conceived a cold-blooded plan to murder his autistic sons and their mother, then cash in on insurance policies,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “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.”