A California man was sentenced to 212 years in prions for a “premeditated murder” to kill his ex-wife and two sons for a huge life insurance payout.
Ali F. Elmezayen was given the maximum sentence on Thursday, March 11, and was branded "the ultimate phony and a skillful liar," and "nothing more than a greedy and brutal killer" by United States District Judge John F. Walter.
The scheme was described as "vicious and callous" as well as "evil and diabolical." "The only regret that the defendant has is that he got caught," Judge Walter noted.
The 45-year-old was found guilty of four counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, five counts of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft in 2019. He has been in custody since 2018.
In April 2015, the father drove his car off a port of Los Angels wharf with is ex-wife and two sons with autism in the vehicle. He swam out of an open window and his wife escaped the car and was rescued by fisherman, as she cannot swim. The two boys, who were aged 8 and 13, drowned in the car. The couple’s third son was away at camp.
After the accident, Elmezayen is said to have collected $260,000 from Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance and American General Life Insurance to compensate for his sons’ deaths.
Elmezayen purchased more than $3 million of life and accidental death insurance for himself and his family from eight different insurance companies in 2012 and 2013 and then spent the next two years calling the companies to ensure that they were active and would pay out if something happened.
He "also called at least two of the insurance companies to confirm they would not investigate claims made two years after the policies were purchased," the Department of Justice said. He drove off the wharf 12 days after his two-year contestability period ended for the last of the insurance polices. The calls were recorded and played in court.
He reportedly paid more than $6,000 per year in premiums, but had an income of less than $30,000 on his tax returns. Elmezayan is said to have lied repeatedly to the insurance companies, law enforcement and on civil litigation forms after the car crash.
Elmezayen, who is an Egyptian national, reportedly used the money to buy real estate in Egypt and a boat, but was ordered to pay $261,751 back to the insurance companies.
"Mr. Elmezayen conceived a cold-blooded plan to murder his autistic sons and their mother, then cash in on insurance policies," United States Attorney Tracy L. Wiklison said.
"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 walk among us as free men again."
He is still facing murder charges in a state case, according to NBC News.