Fake Death Scam Surfaces in Cruise Ship Case

Ship sinks, can rats be far behind?

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 25, 2012 1:31 AM CST | Updated Jan 25, 2012 6:18 AM CST

(Newser) – The first scam has emerged in an apparent bid for compensation from the operators of crippled cruise liner Costa Concordia. A woman and her boyfriend were arrested in Hungary after falsely reporting two people missing on the ship, according to officials. The scheme was spotted by a New York lawyer who is representing six Hungarian survivors from the wreck. He became suspicious when he was contacted by the woman, who asked how much money she could expect for her missing daughter and granddaughter—and kept modifying her story, reports ABC News.

The Hungarian Foreign Ministry was also suspicious when officials discovered one of the names being used belonged to a woman who had been dead for years. "It was absolutely clear that it was a fake story," said a ministry official. An investigation is continuing. Sixteen bodies have been recovered from the cruise liner, and 16 are still missing.

Ropes float from a flooded corridor of the Costa Concordia cruise ship grounded off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy.
Ropes float from a flooded corridor of the Costa Concordia cruise ship grounded off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy.   (AP Photo/Italian Navy GOS)
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