Monroe, LA—A man has been arrested for insurance fraud in a bizarre tale after allegedly faking his own death in 1998. Authorities say he then moved into a house across the street from his (widowed?) wife and lived there for 11 years, without the wife (widow?) recognizing him. Police are now investigating what the woman knew, though she insists she had no clue it was him.
Bob Harrington was thought to have died in a car accident in May, 1998. His body was never found, and after a lengthy lawsuit, Tanya Harrington was paid his life insurance benefits in 2001. But it appears now that Bob is alive and well, and moved across the street from Tanya in June 2000. Tanya said there was nothing to indicate that her neighbor, Robert Pennington, was her “dead” husband.
“Well, he wore glasses,” the wife said. “My husband never wore glasses. And he spoke with a terribly convincing British accent. My husband never spoke with a British accent.”
Tanya Harrington admitted she would talk to the man briefly when she would get the paper and occasionally when she walked her dog. But she never really spent much time talking to him, except for when they took that cruise to Mexico in 2008.
“Plus, I mean, he’s a podiatrist,” Tanya continued. “My dead husband was a chiropodist. And my husband’s name was Bob. My neighbor is Robert. I’m just as surprised and devastated as everyone else.”
Tanya Harrington offered more proof of the differences between her husband and the man she knew as her neighbor: Bob’s favorite football team was the Houston Oilers, and Robert’s favorite team is the Tennessee Titans.
Harrington/Pennington’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment on this story. He is being held in the Ouachita Parish Jail pending a bond hearing.
Tanya Harrington has not been charged. She said she is now unsure if she should cancel the 40th birthday party she was planning for Robert next week, which, coincidentally, would have been the 40th birthday of her late husband.