A California man was sentenced to 212 years in federal prison for intentionally driving his ex-wife and two autistic sons off of a wharf, and drowning the children to cash in their accidental death insurance policies.
The US District Judge John Walter called out the man’s ‘evil and diabolical scheme’ and described his actions as ‘vicious and callous.’
‘He is the ultimate phony and a skilful 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.’
Ali Elmezayen, 45, an Egyptian national, also was ordered to pay $261,751 in restitution to the insurance companies that he defrauded.
From July 2012 to March 2013, Elmezayen bought from eight different insurance companies more than $3million of life and accidental death insurance policies on himself and his family.
After taking out the policies, Elmezayen repeatedly called the insurance companies, sometimes pretending to be his ex-wife, to make sure that the policies were active and that they would pay benefits if his former spouse died in an accident.
Elmezayen also called at least two of the insurance companies to confirm they would not investigate claims made two years after the policies were purchased. These telephone calls were recorded and were played for the jury.
On April 9, 2015, Elmezayen drove a car with his ex-wife, Rehab Diab, and his two severely autistic sons, 13-year-old Elhassan and 8-year-old Abdelkarim, off a wharf at the Port of Los Angeles. The site of the crash was a loading dock for commercial fishermen.
Elmezayen swam out the open driver’s side window of the car within 30 seconds. His ex-wife, who did not know how to swim, escaped the vehicle and survived when a nearby fisherman threw her a flotation device.
The couple’s special-needs son were strapped into the car and drowned. A third son was away at camp at the time and was not in the car at the time his father drove it into the water.
Elmezayen then collected more than $260,000 in insurance proceeds from Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance and American General Life Insurance on the accidental death insurance policies he had taken out on the children’s lives. He used part of the insurance proceeds to purchase real estate in Egypt and a boat.
During the trial, prosecutors told jurors that Elmezayen beat his wife and had called her parents in Egypt threatening to send her home in a coffin.
He also filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, blaming his children’s deaths on the city in a bid to collect even more money, but lost.
FBI agents arrested Elmezayen in November 2018 and he has been in federal custody ever since.