LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury today named a Hawthorne man in a 14-count indictment that alleges he intentionally drove his family into the water at the Port of Los Angeles in a scheme to collect proceeds of life insurance policies he had purchased on their lives.
Ali F. Elmezayen, 44, was charged with four counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and five counts of money laundering. Elmezayen remains in federal custody after being arrested on November 7 by the FBI.
The indictment alleges that Elmezayen purchased several life and accidental death insurance policies providing coverage on himself, his domestic partner and their three children in 2012 and 2013. Elmezayen then drove a car with his partner and two youngest children off a wharf at the Port of Los Angeles on April 9, 2015. Elmezayen swam out the open driver’s side window of the car. Elmezayen’s partner, who did not know how to swim, escaped the vehicle and survived when a nearby fisherman threw her a flotation device. The two children, who were 8 and 13, drowned in the car.
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, according to the indictment.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Elmezayen is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on November 29 in United States District Court.
If he were to be convicted of all the charges contained in the indictment, Elmezayen would face a statutory maximum sentence of 212 years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigation. The federal investigators received substantial assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Port Police and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alex Wyman and David Ryan.