Elmezayen escaped out of his open driver's side window. His wife, who did not know how to swim, was rescued by a fisherman who threw her a flotation device. Two of his three sons were strapped in the back seat. The boys, 8 and 13, were both “severely autistic,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Both boys drowned. A third son was away at camp at the time.
Elmezayen collected more than $260,000 in insurance payouts on accidental death insurance policies he had taken out on both boys’ lives, the DOJ said. Their deaths came 12 days after the two-year “contestability” period expired.
Elmezayen bought a boat and property in Egypt with the insurance money, according to the DOJ.
FBI agents arrested Elmezayen in November 2018.
“Elmezayen repeatedly lied to law enforcement officers and insurance companies. … He also attempted to persuade witnesses to lie to law enforcement and say he had given the insurance proceeds to charity,” the DOJ said.
Prosecutors said Elmezayen, now 45 years old, had posed as his ex-wife in communicating with the insurance companies without her knowledge.
Prosecutors said between July 2012 and March 2013, Elmezayen “bought from eight different insurance companies more than $3 million of life and accidental death insurance policies on himself and his family.”
“Elmezayen also called at least two of the insurance companies to confirm they would not investigate claims made two years after the policies were purchased. These telephone calls were recorded and were played for the jury,” the DOJ said.
“[Elmezayen] murdered his disabled children and attempted to murder his ex-wife for money,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.
In addition to his prison sentence, Elmezayen was ordered pay $261,751 in restitution to the insurance companies he defrauded.
The Los Angeles Times reports the couple’s surviving 20-year-old son addressed his father in court Thursday: “I hope you know I don’t want anything to do with you anymore. Don’t call me. Don’t write me.”