A woman secretly added herself to her neighbor’s life insurance policy, then faked the Iowa neighbor’s death so she could steal death benefits, authorities said.
Kimberly Nicole Hollingshed, of Muscatine, fraudulently received about $100,139 from the life insurance company in April 2022, according to a March 9 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.
She used that money to buy a 2014 Buick Encore, a 2008 Jeep Liberty and a 2008 Hummer H3, according to Hollingshed’s plea agreement that she signed in November.
Now the 37-year-old woman has been sentenced to 24 months in prison on a count of wire fraud, court records show.
The defense attorney representing Hollingshed did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on March 10.
Federal authorities said Hollingshed accessed the neighbor’s life insurance policy in February 2022, then she added an online profile without her neighbor’s permission.
“With online account access, Hollingshed made changes to the victim’s policy and added herself as a policy beneficiary,” officials said.
Once Hollingshed was listed as a beneficiary, in April, authorities said she told the life insurance company that her neighbor died and started the process to claim her death benefits.
The insurance company required a copy of the woman’s death certificate before processing the claim, according to the plea agreement.
As her neighbor hadn’t actually died, the woman provided a forged Iowa certificate of death, prosecutors said. She started with a real death certificate belonging to a 96-year-old Iowa woman who died in 2017, but changed the name, cause of death, location of death and other details, according to court records.
The insurance company processed the claim, and the money was deposited into