Former Bundesliga footballer Hiannick Kamba has been sentenced to almost four years in prison for fraud, after being found guilty of faking his own death in the Congo to obtain a handsome life insurance payout.
Kamba played for FC Schalke 04 from 1999 to 2005 and came up through its youth academy with World Cup winner Manuel Neuer.
In January 2016, the 35-year-old was reported dead in a car crash which was staged in his African homeland.
This led to his wife, who has also been hit with a sentence of three years and 10 months, receiving a reported payout of €1.2 million ($1.36 million).
Congolese 🇨🇩 player Hiannick Kamba has been discovered alive in Germany.
The former Schalke right back was reported dead in January 2016 after a car accident in DR Congo.
His ex-wife who claimed a 6-figure amount on his life insurance is being investigated for insurance fraud. pic.twitter.com/lJAzZkNhim
— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) May 5, 2020
At the time, one of Kamba’s former clubs, VfB Huls, released an obituary for their ex-right back.
“He represented the ideas and values of our club like few others,” it read.
“His demise will leave a big gap. Hiannick is undoubtedly a bitter sporting loss for us, but primarily we will miss it as a fellow human being.”
Two years later, in 2018, Kamba allegedly went to the capital Kinhasa’s German embassy to report the fake passing.
But in 2019, according to Bild, he was discovered alive and well working as a chemical technician for a German energy supplier in the Ruhr Valley that plays host to the likes of Schalke and bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Eventually caught by the authorities, it is believed that Kamba told them friends left him without documents, cash or a telephone while on a trip in the Congo.
“Kamba claims he was abandoned by friends overnight in Congo in January 2016 and left without documents, money and a cell phone,” explained public prosecutor Anette Milk to the mentioned German newspaper.
Bild also says that Milk believes the plan to defraud the life insurance company was hatched by the former player and his wife, and that they originally attempted to take out a plan worth an astounding €4 million ($4.5 million).
Despite Kamba’s legal representative insisting the couple has not seen a penny of the sum that was paid out, they are both now in custody.
According to reports, Kamba’s wife, who has only been identified as ‘Christina von G’ thus far for legal reasons, protested their innocence while saying that with the ruling “you lose faith in justice”.