Louisiana Insurance Fraud Fugitive Held

December 6, 2011

A former Baton Rouge man who once faked his death to elude authorities must remain in custody until more hearings in his case.

The Advocate reports that Milton Windsor Harris appeared Friday before U.S. Magistrate Christine Noland in Baton Rouge.

Authorities say Harris became a federal fugitive in February 1995 rather than face allegations that he failed to meet terms of his five-year probation after five years in prison. He was sentenced for defrauding Prudential Life Insurance Company of America of $516,596 by the faked drowning in New Zealand.

He had pleaded guilty to mail fraud and obstruction of justice.

U.S. Attorney Don Cazayoux Jr. says Harris was apprehended in Northern Ireland earlier this year, flown to New Jersey, and moved to Baton Rouge late last month..

Harris’ 1989 indictment said that after he faked his death, his beneficiaries collected $516,596 in life insurance from Prudential. His wife, Sheila D. Fowler Harris, also tried to collect on more than $1.8 million in life insurance from Lloyd’s of London, according to records of a civil suit.

In New Zealand, Milton Harris fathered a child by another woman.

In 1990, then-U.S. Attorney Raymond Lamonica said Milton Harris received only $6,000 of the money scammed from Prudential. Lamonica also said Harris had been arrested in 1989 in New Zealand for the attempted theft of some items he wanted for his infant.

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