A heartless dad purposely drowned his two sons, who both had severe autism, by driving his car off a California pier — so he could cash in on a $6 million insurance policy, prosecutors said.
Ali Elmezayen, 44, allegedly hatched the sick scheme two years before stomping on the gas of his Honda and sending it crashing into the Port of Los Angeles on April 9, 2015.
“Witnesses heard the tires of the car screech loudly and saw the car accelerate before it flew off the edge of the wharf, crashed into the water and immediately sunk,” FBI agent Matthew Parker wrote in an affidavit in support of Elmezayen’s arrest for insurance fraud last week.
Federal investigators found that Elmezayen spent about a quarter of his reported $24,000 salary on a $6 million insurance policy for himself, his longtime partner Rabab Diab and three sons.
He also allegedly repeatedly called the insurance company to ensure that they wouldn’t automatically probe a claim made more than two years after the policy was written, prosecutors said.
The deadly plunge killed 8-year-old Adbelkarim and 13-year-old Elhassan, who were both severely autistic and couldn’t swim. They were found strapped into their car seats.
Elmezayen claimed to investigators that he may have accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brakes. He sued the city, Honda and Jiffy Lube for negligence but the complaint was tossed out.
The heartless father’s window was open when the car drove into the water. He surfaced within 30 seconds and swam to a ladder on the pier.
Diab, who couldn’t swim, was also in the car at the time. She was rescued by a fisherman while screaming, “My kids! My kids!”
“The poor lady was screaming hysterically,” fisherman Ray Prince said shortly after the incident. “I thought she was going to drown.”
The allegedly staged accident occurred two years and 12 days after the final policy took effect.
Elmezayen collected more than $260,000 in insurance payouts for his sons’ deaths and wired more than $170,000 back to his native Egypt, prosecutors said.
The Los Angeles County district attorney said there wasn’t enough evidence to bring murder charges against Elmezayen. A police mechanic found that the brake pedal of the Honda didn’t work properly but couldn’t tell whether it was a problem before the fatal crash or because of salt water corrosion.
County prosecutors also said the father’s explanation of the tragedy could create reasonable doubt but suggested police notify the feds of the insurance fraud.
Elmezayen and Diab came to the US in 2000 and overstayed their tourist visas, according to prosecutors. They both married other people in hopes of becoming permanent residents and Elmezayen has acknowledged his marriage was a sham.
Elmezayen was held without bail after federal Judge Alka Sagar ruled he lacked credibility, and in part because of what she called a “ghastly scheme to obtain insurance benefits.”
Prosecutors argued he shouldn’t be free pending trial because he was likely to flee to Egypt.
They also said he posed a threat to Diab, because he intended to kill her and a third son who was at camp that day in 2015.
Photo Credit: The Independent