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California IN BRIEF : SAN FRANCISCO : Man Admits Faking Death for Insurance

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A Marine who faked his death in a California boating accident in 1987 so he could collect on a $500,000 life insurance policy faces up to five years in prison for insurance fraud. Willie Dean Williams, 37, formerly of Willits in Mendocino County, pleaded guilty and could also face a $250,000 fine when sentenced Feb. 6, said U.S. Attorney William McGivern. Williams’ wife and a friend who took part in the plot both died this year, McGivern said. He said Williams, a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps, took out a life insurance policy in February, 1987, naming his wife, Joanne, as beneficiary. He disappeared in May, 1987, in Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino County. Mrs. Williams had her husband declared legally dead in August, 1987. She and Charles Butler Phillips, a friend of the couple, then collected more than $500,000 in insurance benefits on Williams’ life, McGivern said.


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