A man said to have faked his own death in Britain for a £1.25 million (AUD $1.9 million) life insurance payout has been found living in Australia.
Alfredo Sanchez was tracked down to Sydney after months of speculation that he was somewhere in the country with his four children.
Sanchez, 47, whose fingerprints were found on his own death certificate, had been surviving on takeaway chicken and chips under the alias of Hugo Sanchez.
His 44-year-old wife Sophie is serving a two-year jail term in Britain for her role in the fraud for which her husband is wanted.
Police in Australia are reported to be liaising with their British counterparts.
When challenged about the alleged fraud, Sanchez said he was aware of reports in the UK claiming that he and his wife had defrauded an insurance company, but he issued a denial.
’I know, I know (about the article),’ he said, adding ‘not true’. He insisted his wife was not serving a jail sentence but was in England ‘visiting family’ and would be back in Australia next year.
‘Sophie is not in jail, she is with family, that’s all,’ he declared.
Ecuador-born Sanchez shrugged when asked how he could have the same surname as the wanted man, look the same, share the same date of birth and have a wife with the same name, yet deny he was the fugitive.
‘Excuse me, I am innocent until proven guilty,’ he said. ‘I have not done anything. If they want me, they can come and get me.’
Sanchez and his wife, who had been living in the UK, had run into debt and he allegedly persuaded his wife to tell his employers at HMV that he had died while abroad.
She told the authorities that he had been cremated.
The couple are thought to have moved to Australia with their children soon after receiving a life insurance lump sum payout in 2005.
But when someone continued to use the ‘dead man’s’ HMV staff discount card, authorities became suspicious.
Evidence built up against Sanchez in the UK when detectives found his fingerprints on his death certificate.
Mrs Sanchez was arrested in September last year when she flew to the UK from Australia for her sister’s wedding.
She told police that her husband was indeed alive.
Prosecutors said the fraud was ‘not very professional’ but had been ‘planned and carried out over a period of time’.
A court heard that Mrs Sanchez was ‘genuinely very remorseful’ for what had happened and that she had not tried to sidestep responsibility for her actions which had been motivated by the amount of debt her husband had accrued.
Mrs Sanchez admitted six offences of fraud but denied seven others which will lie on file.
Until several weeks ago her husband owned a tattoo parlour in Sydney, but he had to shut for good after the business was firebombed for a second time.