Student Fakes Own Death In Insurance Fraud Scheme, Police Say
BRYSON CITY, N.C. (AP) _ A college student used a hypodermic syringe to draw blood from his arm, sprinkled it inside his car and fled to the mountains in an attempt to fake his death in an insurance fraud scheme, authorities say.
Charles Walter Scott, 24, of Mebane was rousted from an Appalachian Trail shelter near the Tennesse border late Wednesday and jailed in Swain County on a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud, authorities said.
Scott, a University of North Carolina junior, was freed on a $25,000 bond pending his appearance today in Orange County District Court.
Scott, whose blood-spattered car was found Saturday night along Interstate 85, was accused of taking part in a scheme to collect $600,000 from recently purchased life insurance policies.
For two days after the car was found, police searched eight square miles of Orange County and dragged a water-filled quarry. However, on Tuesday they said they thought Scott was alive and that he had bloodied the car himself.
Charlton Slater Fox, 20, also of Mebane, was charged Wednesday with conspiracy to commit fraud. He was free Thursday on $7,500 bond.
Scott’s parents and Fox were named beneficiaries of the insurance policies, said Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass, but investigators believed they knew nothing of Scott’s disappearance, Pendergrass said.
A permit that backpackers must file with park officials, listing an itinerary, helped authorities locate Scott, said park ranger Robert L. Grant.
″We went on horseback,″ Grant said. ″It wasn’t too hard to find him. He was on his permit, following his schedule. He was walking the trail. According to his permit, he was going to stay for six nights.″
Rangers had Scott hike nine miles to custody, using a trail too rugged for the rangers’ horses, Grant said.