A California man is accused of intentionally driving his wife and children off a Los Angeles pier, killing his two autistic sons, in an effort to collect on accidental death insurance policies, prosecutors said Wednesday.

44-year-old Ali Elmezayen, of Hawthorne, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder for killing his 13-year-old son, Elhassan, and his 8-year-old son, Abdelkrim on April 9, 2015, when he allegedly drove the family’s car off the pier at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

His two sons, who couldn’t swim and were strapped into child seats, drowned in the crash, but Elmezayen’s wife, who couldn’t swim, was rescued by a fisherman.

Divers emerge from the water as debris believed to be from a car floats to the surface, where a car went off a pier and into the water, in Los Angeles’ San Pedro harbor district, April 9, 2015. (AP)

Prosecutors said Elmezayen collected more than $260,000 in insurance proceeds from American General Life Insurance and Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance after the children’s deaths.

Elmezayen purchased insurance policies worth $6 million in coverage his family in the event any of them accidentally died in 2012 and 2013.

He allegedly paid nearly $6,000 a year for the policies despite earning less than $30,000 a year at the time.

He was charged with mail and wire fraud and aggravated identify theft in November.

Elmezayen was already in federal custody on insurance fraud charges, but he’s expected to stand trial on the murder charges once the current case is completed.

He faces the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole or death if convicted as charged.

Categories: U.S. California