Mom posed as dead son to collect insurance money


A woman pleaded guilty to pretending to be her dead son in order to set up an insurance policy and then collect a payoff. Donna Ellis Gibbs received $151,000 from Monumental Life Insurance Co. on a policy she took out in her deceased son’s name two months after he died, the Fulton County District’s Attorney’s Office said in a news release. The insurance company was notified of her deception when the scheme was uncovered by her ex-husband, prosecutors said. Gibbs was charged with five counts of insurance fraud and one count of theft by taking. In December 2002, Gibbs’ son died in a car crash. While acting as her son, she later submitted an application to the insurance company for an accidental death policy. When she submitted a claim, she used altered documents — including police reports and a death certificate — to show that her son died in April 2003, authorities said. Almost four years later, Gibbs’ ex-husband, the father of her late son, found out about the policy. He investigated and sent authentic documents on his son’s death to the insurer after notifying the company of the fraud, prosecutors said. Gibbs was sentenced to 20 years’ probation, which can be lifted after five years if she complies with her plea agreement. She must pay full restitution to the insurance company, perform 200 hours of community service, and undergo drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment, the news release said.