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Stupid Case File for March 11, 2006

A Seatbelt, Or Lack Thereof, Helps Catch Crook

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A 67-year-old German man who drew his dead brother's pension for 26 years after taking on his identity was unmasked after police stopped him for driving without a seatbelt, authorities said Thursday.

"During checks it emerged that just after his death the man assumed the identity of his older brother, who has been resting in peace in a Regensburg cemetery since he passed away in 1979," police in the central city of Kassel said.

Thanks to the physical similarity between the siblings, the impostor pulled off the switch by renewing his dead brother's passport. But he continued to use his real name on occasion.

Police uncovered the ruse because of records showing the younger man was wanted for repeatedly failing to settle a minor bill. Although the car, his driving license and other particulars were made out to his brother, the man's surname aroused police suspicions and he eventually confessed the scam.

Police said it had likely netted him at least 100,000 euros ($119,400).


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