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OC man allegedly faked own death for money

August 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
An Orange County man is being charged with faking his own death for financial gain.

An anonymous tip led investigators to Lucio Rodriguez in Riverside on Monday morning. He and his wife were arrested.

Rodriguez was declared dead of cardiac arrest in Mexico on Aug. 17, 2004. Investigators said Rodriguez's wife turned the certificate in to several insurance companies, including Social Security and the Teamsters union.

Investigators said Rodriguez then returned to the U.S. and changed his name to Santiago Carrasco.

Rodriguez's would-be widow, Rosa Carrasco, allegedly began collecting on his death benefits and Social Security

"Benefits were paid to the wife and the four children in excess of $500,000, and that's not counting life insurance policies," Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Investigators said he was working as a truck driver for a company in Fontana.

The couple faces a laundry list of charges, including fraud, grand theft, identification theft and burglary.

Investigators said they were surprised Rodriguez could pull it off for so long. They say he applied for a California driver's license using his fingerprints.

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