Thursday, June 20, 2019

the last book I ever read (Casey Cep's Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, excerpt five)

from Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep:

If the community was frightened and the police were frustrated, the insurance companies were furious. Here again was the preacher from Coosa County, come to collect tens of thousands of dollars in life insurance on a family member. Two companies, Southern Farm Bureau and Booker T. Washington Insurance, had no choice but to pay up without protest, because their three policies—for ten thousand, one thousand, and five hundred dollars—had been taken out by Dorcas and her first husband, Abram. Maxwell was simply the current beneficiary. The Andersons had also taken out mortgage insurance, which covered the thirteen thousand dollars still owed on their house, which now passed to the Reverend through the survivorship estate.

The other companies, however, were not going to make good on their policies without a fight. It is impossible to know exactly how many of those policies Maxwell held on Dorcas at the time of her death—or, for that matter, how many in total he ever held on anyone—because those that were not litigated left no trace. But of the policies that eventually became the subject of court battles, four had become effective the day after Maxwell married Dorcas in November 1971, a fifth had kicked in two day after that, a sixth in January 1972, a seventh that March, and the remainder by late spring of that year. All told, the Reverend had at least seventeen separate insurance policies on Dorcas, for which he had paid ten dollars a week in premiums. Now he was owed a small fortune in return.

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