The LA Times reports Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II was relieved of command of the nuclear submarine Pittsburgh, a week after taking up that duty last month, amid reports that he ended an affair with a 23-year-old Virginia woman by faking his death.
In contrast to a range of insurance frauds, where the supposedly dead person disappeared at sea - while swimming (for example UK MP John Stonehouse and Paul Terroni) or canoeing (John Darwin) or fishing - and reappeared to collect the loot, the married officer appears to have simply been a cad.
If the reports are accurate he met the woman through a dating site, initially used a different name when telling the woman he was separated and was in the US Special Forces, the relationship progressed and then went sour. She received
an email from his address purporting to be from a man named Bob who worked with Ward, according to the newspaper.
“He asked me to contact you if this ever happened,” the email said. “I am extremely sorry to tell you that he is gone. We tried everything we could to save him. I cannot say more. I am sorry it has to be this way.”
The email goes on to say, “He loved you very much,” and that Bob had something Ward had wanted to give to her.The woman reportedly
drove with her family to Ward's house in Virginia, to pay her respects, and learned from the new owner that Ward was alive and had moved to Connecticut to take command of a submarine. She said she became ill, was hospitalized, and learned she was pregnant. She said she has since lost the baby ....The intrepid submariner is now on administrative duties, having been relieved "due to lack of confidence in Ward's ability to command based upon allegations of personal misconduct".
In reporting the second incident the Times scoffs that
Raymond Roth accomplished a lot while supposedly dead, police say.
He drove to Florida, got a speeding ticket in South Carolina, and sent emails to his son back home in New York. On Wednesday, he added another feat to the list: He was arrested on charges of insurance fraud in a case that has highlighted a faked death gone comically awry, and dysfunctional family woes.
A day after his 22-year-old son, Jonathan, who is charged in the same case, was released on bond, the elder Roth faced arraignment in a Long Island court after a bizarre odyssey that began with a supposed swim off Jones Beach on July 28. Roth, 47, never came out of the water, his apparently distraught son told police when he called to report his dad missing that evening.
But four days later, after a search of the sand and ocean off of Jones Beach that involved divers, boaters, a helicopter, and police, the case began to unravel. Raymond Roth was stopped for speeding in South Carolina, and his stunned wife, Evana Roth, said she had found emails indicating a conspiracy involving her husband and stepson.Raqymond and Jonathan allegedly "executed a plan to create the false impression that Raymond Roth had died", in an effort to collect over US$50,000 life insurance.
Prosecutors say the younger Roth confessed to the scheme after being arrested Aug. 6, but he told them he had been forced to take part in it by his father. The father's attorney, meanwhile, has claimed that the insurance scam was the son's idea. "My client's intent was to disappear, not to cash in on a life insurance policy," Raymond Roth's attorney, Brian Davis, said Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. "It was never my client's intent to make a claim." Davis told the Long Island newspaper Newsday that Roth just wanted to escape the "pressures of bills" after losing his job as a manager at a telecommunications company. He said the fact that his client used his real name when he checked into a Florida resort showed there was no criminal intent.Perhaps he was simply stupid, like the New Zealand guy who faked death by drowning and later applied for a passport in his own name.