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buggy
11-29-2001, 08:48 AM
As anguished families prayed that their loved ones might still be alive in the rubble of the World Trade Center, a Georgia couple was cooking up a scheme to cash in on America's nightmare, authorities say.

Six days after the twin towers collapsed, killing thousands, Charles Allen Gavett of Pike County contacted the New York City Police Department to report his wife missing, authorities said.

Gavett, 44, subsequently filed a death claim with his insurance company, saying his wife had a 9 a.m. appointment at the World Trade Center on the morning two terrorist-commandeered planes took down the twin towers, according to investigators.

Authorities say 40-year-old Cynthia S. Gavett was, in fact, alive and well at home in Concord, a town of 330 people 45 miles south of downtown Atlanta. And her husband knew it, investigators charge.

"It is my understanding that she was continuing in her daily walk of life," said Pike County Sheriff Jimmy Thomas.

The Gavetts were arrested Monday and charged with insurance fraud. Conviction on the felony charge carries up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Pike County Magistrate Priscilla Killingsworth denied bond for the Gavetts Wednesday and said she would set a preliminary hearing in the case for sometime during the next two weeks.

"We believe this is the first arrest in the United States for filing a false death claim from Sept. 11," said Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, whose investigators helped make the case.

New York state insurance officials said they have made no similar arrests but are investigating several cases of possible phony death claims and identity thefts stemming from the World Trade Center tragedy.

The suspected Georgia scam unraveled after Minnesota Life Insurance Co. officials called Sheriff Thomas to ask if he knew the Gavetts. Authorities gave this account:

Charles Gavett had sent an e-mail Sept. 29 notifying the insurance company of his wife's supposed disappearance. Gavett followed up with a phone call three days later, then filed a claim against the couple's $200,000 mortgage insurance policy. The policy would have paid off most of the note on their $270,000 home.

A sheriff's deputy sent to check out the insurance company's inquiry reported seeing both Gavetts on Nov. 18. About that time, New York police called about the missing person report they had received.

Oxendine said Cynthia Gavett was home in Georgia around the time her husband reported her missing.

Authorities have not charged the Gavetts' 14-year-old daughter, whose signature they say was on a sworn statement that the woman was missing.

Here ya go! (http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/metro/1128insurance.html)

Shadowhawk
11-29-2001, 08:55 AM
Yep, it's been all over the news here, since it's sort of a local story... Hope they get buried under the jail for exploiting a tragedy like that:mad: It's apparently the first case nationwide of somebody getting busted for fraud relating to 9/11 from what the local media have been saying.

86Dde
11-29-2001, 10:51 AM
Thats funny. I can't believe anyone could be so stupid as to think they could actually pull that off. Still, I don't think they should be locked away for twenty years. A harsh fine, and a felony conviction on their record will ruin the rest of their lives anyway.

Manu
11-29-2001, 12:45 PM
What is ridiculous...in a town of 330, how did they think they coudl get away with it?

Maybe if they lived in Compton or something huge...but a town fo 330 people?

Shadowhawk
11-29-2001, 12:50 PM
Who knows... If they were smart and wanted to steal, they'd be politians instead of regular crooks:D As it turns out, the local news is reporting these two are now under investigation for other possible fraud scams...

He was a $12/hr construction worker, and she worked at home, but the had a $270,000 house (that's about a million dollar house in Cal), so the authorities got the idea that SOMETHING didn't add up there...