At first, it sounded like a great, simple idea. The husband pretends he is dead while the wife collects his life insurance. She will send him money periodically as he assumes new identity abroad. It almost happened that way, Czech press reports.
A Hungarian man, Zoltan Rex, and his wife were vacationing in Greece in 2001, when Zoltan “disappeared” while surfing. Of course, the wife and a few friends were in on the scam and played along. The authorities proclaimed him dead after about a year, but they never found his body. The insurance company, however, refused to pay the roughly $1.3M, because they found it strange that a man would take out several life insurance policies and then disappear. (Note to self: When faking death, remember that insurance companies are not stupid.)
Poor Zoltan escaped to Crete, then Italy, and finally ended up in the Czech Republic, where he lived under the name László Boros until his true identity was discovered last year. The plan never really worked the way they intended. His wife lost hope of ever getting the money and got remarried in 2005.
Now, Zoltan’s only hope is either a) reality show, b) book deal, or c) flourishing career in Eastern European politics.