Falsifying Your Demise Can Make You Wish You Were Dead
Ever had the thought that if you could just start over again, with a new identity and a new life, you’d be able to get a handle on everything? In today’s world, where it seems relatively easy to create a whole new persona, and you can easily move where no one knows you, you might think that faking your own death could be the ultimate way to start over. After all, if everyone believes you’re dead, then no one will be looking for you, right?
Is It Illegal to Fake Your Own Death?
It may surprise you, but there are no state or federal laws that specifically make it a crime to fabricate your own demise. Maybe this is going to be easier than you thought! Not so fast…
The Potential Consequences of Falsely Reporting or Claiming Your Own Death
Though you may not violate any particular law by the actual act of fabricating your own death, you’ll find it impossible to live a legal day-to-day existence after you do, assuming you plan to interact with society at all. In fact, unless you live off the grid completely, with no access to electricity, running water, a phone, or other amenities of modern life, you’ll find it extremely difficult not to engage in widespread fraud:
- If you try to establish credit under your new identity, you’ll be committing fraud, using bogus information to obtain that credit, so forget about buying a house or car unless you can pay cash.
- If you apply for a job, you’ll most likely have to fabricate employment history and other factors. That’s fraud, too.
- Want to rent an apartment or house? If you have to complete a lease application, you’ll need to use the identity of someone who doesn’t exist–more fraud.
- If you have an apartment or house, you’ll need utilities. Virtually every application for electricity, gas, water, and other amenities will require you to provide bogus information.
- Want to put your money in a bank instead of burying it in the back yard or stuffing it in your mattress? The bank will ask for a social security number, and you can’t use your real one.
But wait, there’s more!
- Did you have a life insurance policy before you “died?” If you collect any of the proceeds, you’ll violate the law. If your loved ones collect the proceeds and it can be shown that they knew you faked your death, they can be charged, too.
- When you “died,” did you owe any back state or federal taxes? Faking your death to avoid paying them is tax fraud.
- Did you have child support or alimony obligations before your untimely “death?” Staging your own death to avoid those payments is—you guessed it—fraud.
What Are the Potential Penalties If Your Fake Death Is Discovered?
Fraud can be either civil or criminal in nature (or both). If you are charged criminally with fraud, you can face felony charges, based on the severity of your case. That can lead to fines, prison time, and restitution. A civil fraud complaint can lead to a verdict where you are liable for substantial damages to another person or entity.
Though staging your own death to avoid legal or financial obligations is not in direct violation of any state or federal law, doing makes it virtually impossible to carry on any meaningful existence without regularly engaging in fraud. Because you’ll be forced to use false information to apply for jobs, apartments, and credit, you’ll expose yourself to potential fraud charges at just about every turn. Furthermore, those fraud allegations may be criminal or civil in nature, leading to incarceration, fines, restitution, or financial damages.