John Stonehouse was a British MP who was living on borrowed time. He had been cooking the books for years on a number of shady businesses he had set up, and the Department of Trade and Industry had decided to investigate the many irregularities which occurred as a result. It was only a matter of months before they found the truly incriminating evidence, at which point life as he knew it would be over. Stonehouse decided he might as well take this notion literally, and so hatched a scheme to fake his own suicide.
On November 20, 1974 he disappeared, leaving behind a crumpled pile of clothes on a Miami beach. Officials decided he must have walked into the ocean to drown himself, and declared the politician dead. Stonehouse meanwhile snuck away to Melbourne, where he cast aside his old identity and tried to start a new life. To his bad luck, he was picked up in less than a month by the Australian police. They weren’t even looking for him either, the authorities thought they had caught the notorious Lord Lucan, who was wanted in England for murder at the time.
He was deported back to the United Kingdom, where he was quickly placed behind bars. Remarkably, the Labour Party did not expel him from their ranks, though he was forced to step down as Labour Whip. His trial was the perfect example of a media circus, something that was probably helped by the fact that he decided to represent himself. Stonehouse was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to seven years in prison, though he would be released early due to health problems. He died a few years later (supposedly), but unless you dig up the coffin, there’s no way to be sure.