Virginia woman faked her own death to go on shopping spree with husband, police say

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WTVR) -- A Portsmouth woman is facing 30 years in prison for faking her own death to go on a shopping spree with her husband.

Alexandra Hatcher pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal conspiracy and fraud charges in connection with an elaborate bank fraud scheme.

According to court documents, the 49-year-old, conspired with her husband, Albert Hatcher Jr., to collect on life insurance policies the two had obtained to ensure Hatcher’s life.

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Elizabeth Greenwood was in the hole over $100,000 and complaining to a friend over dinner when the friend suggested she fake her own death.

Credit: PIX 11 

That very night, Greenwood took to Google to search if she can actually fake her own death. This turned into a years-long project.

Credit: PIX 11

 "It became very clear to me that I had stumbled into a bizarre underworld made up of people with forbidden knowledge and those seeking it," she said.

Credit: PIX 11

"And while my intention to fake my death might not have been as earnest … I had definitely become a seeker as well."

Credit: PIX 11

Greenwood wrote a book about her experiences and others entitled Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud did not only examine her fake death but others.

Credit: PIX 11


In 2015, the couple submitted false death claims on at least two of them and then went on to buy at least 20 luxury vehicles by using counterfeit checks and forged documents.

Prosecutors say they even created fake death certificates and published a death notice in a newspaper to support the claims.

Hatcher traveled to Washington state changed her legal name in August 2015, according to the court documents. Hatcher and her husband also re-titled the cars and used them as collateral for loans and other vehicles.

Documents show that the Portsmouth woman used the legal name she adopted just prior to faking her death to purchase, title, and resell vehicles.

Alexandra Hatcher and her husband both pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, possessing and uttering a counterfeit security of an organization, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

They each face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Hatcher will be sentenced on Feb. 12, 2018. Albert Hatcher Jr., will be sentenced on Jan. 22, 2018.

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