Man Who Drowned Two Disabled Sons for Insurance Payout Gets 212 Years

A Hawthorne man was sentenced to 212 years in federal prison for intentionally driving his ex-wife and two disabled sons off the Port of Los Angeles pier into the ocean, drowning the boys in order to collect on accidental death insurance policies he had taken out on their lives.

Ali F. Elmezayen received the maximum sentence after United States District Judge John F. Walter referred to him and crimes as evil, diabolical, vicious, and callous.

“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.”

Elmezayen was also ordered to pay $261,751 in restitution to the insurance companies that he defrauded.

In October 2019, the 45-year-old was found guilty of four counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and five counts of money laundering.

“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.”

Elmezayen bought more than $3 million of life and accidental death insurance policies on himself and his family between July 2012 and March 2013. He paid more than $6,000 per year in premiums from eight different insurance companies despite reporting earnings of less than $30,000. According to the Department of Justice, Elmezayen began purchasing the insurance policies the same year he exited a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding

During his trial, recorded telephone calls were played of Elmezayen verifying with insurance companies that the policies were active, that they would pay benefits in the event of a death, and to confirm they would not investigate claims made two years after the policies were purchased. In 2015, 12 days after the two-year contestability period on the last of his insurance policies expired, Elmezayen drove a car with his ex-wife and two youngest children into the ocean.

Elmezayen swam out of the open driver’s side window. His ex-wife managed to escape even though she did not know how to swim. However, the couple’s 8 and 13-year-old sons did not survive. Their third son was away at camp at the time of the incident.

“[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.”

Elmezayen was arrested by the FBI in November 2018 and had been in federal custody ever since.

Source: Department of Justice

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