Man pleads guilty in life insurance fraud case

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A man accused of scheming to fake his own death so his wife could collect insurance money has pleaded guilty to one federal mail fraud charge, admitting he intended to defraud life insurance companies of $3 million.

Jay Robert Darling, 39, was indicted last September on four counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud, prosecutors said. He was arrested in Oregon in late September.

Prosecutors said Darling told several friends that he planned to get life insurance money by faking his own death in a kayaking accident so his wife could get the money.

Darling applied for the life insurance just seven days after he married Wanda Wood Darling in 1997, prosecutors said.

During a hearing Friday in federal court, assistant U.S. attorney Crandon Randell did not talk about the circumstances under which Wanda Wood Darling died. She fell from a Homer bluff in August 1997. Alaska State Troopers said Jay Darling has been a suspect in his wife's death since shortly after she plunged to her death.

His sentencing was set for April 10.

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