Loophole may let so-called ‘Kayak Killer’ cash out on fiance’s insurance policy

Posted: Updated:

Hudson Valley resident Angelika Graswald admitted to killing her fiancé, but a legal loophole still makes her eligible to cash out on his life insurance policy.

Graswald is back in court attempting to legally cash out on her fiancé Vincent Viafore's $500,000 life insurance policy nearly three years after she admittedly killed him while kayaking on the Hudson.

State Rep. James Skoufis is looking to change what he calls a legal loophole in current law. It states only criminals convicted of murder are ineligible for insurance payouts, but not those convicted of criminally negligent homicide - like Graswald.

"It shouldn't even be a question. I imagine it's very insulting and horrifying that the fiance's family now has to fight for his life insurance,” says Skoufis.

Current law allows a judge to decide on claims like Graswald's on a case-by-case basis.

Skoufis' new bill would automatically forfeit insurance payouts when a beneficiary is proven to be involved in that person's death, regardless of the charge.

Graswald's attorney Richard Portale is also representing her in the civil case now brought up by Viafore's sister, Laura Rice.

He wouldn't comment on the matter, but gave News 12 a copy of the judge's recent decision that requires Rice to prove Graswald's actions were reckless before a ruling can be made.

Skoufis says the proposed law would affect Graswald only if it passes before her case is finished.

Angelika Graswald was originally accused of murder but was convicted on a lesser charge in a plea deal negotiated with the Viafore family to avoid a trial.

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