DES MOINES, Iowa -- An investigation concluded that a Des Moines woman faked her own death to avoid paying traffic tickets.
Polk County investigators said Kimberly Du, 36, faked her own obituary and forged a letter telling a Polk County, Iowa, judge she was dead. Du is spending time in the Polk County Jail in connection with a forgery charge.
Court documents show that Du tried to avoid paying several tickets by sending a letter to the courthouse. The letter is allegedly signed by Du's mother and said Du died on Dec. 5, according to court documents.
Investigators said the information submitted include a phony obituary made to look like a page from The Des Moines Register's Web site that said Du died in car accident, and her mother's signature was forged.
Du's mother said she didn't write or sign the letter. It's a case that leaves a legal expert scratching his head.
"The state still has to convince a jury of 12, but faking your own death is not a good idea," said Bob Rigg, of the Drake Law Clinic.
The case began to unravel when investigators said Du was stopped for another traffic ticket in January, which was a month after the obituary was dated.
The probe began at the county courthouse.
"If she did it, she now faces a felony instead of a misdemeanor," Rigg said.
He said that she probably she didn't think about the fact that she was getting out of simple misdemeanors by committing a class D felony, and going from a $500 fine to a five-year prison term.
Du now faces more trouble than before.
The Polk County Attorney's Office could not comment about the case except to say it has never seen anyone try it before.