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Couple Sentenced in Faked Death

June 19, 2001

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A couple were sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison for faking the husband’s death in Thailand in a scheme to collect nearly $1.6 million in life insurance.

Lee Likhit Kongsiri, 63, and his wife, Phatcha, 64, formerly of Palmer Township, pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and other charges. They were sentenced on Monday.

Prosecutors said the couple claimed Lee Kongsiri died of a heart attack in 1995 in Thailand, then attempted to collect $1.8 million from seven insurance companies. Five companies paid out nearly $1.6 million. But Allstate and Prudential suspected fraud and alerted authorities.

Later, a videotape was discovered that showed Lee Kongsiri alive in 1996.

The couple, who were born in Thailand and have U.S. citizenship, were arrested in Bangkok last year at the request of the FBI.

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