Do Not Collect $800,000: Maria Moore Murders for Life Insurance 

How much money is a human life worth? For Maria Moore, the answer is $800,000.

In 2018, Moore betrayed someone she cared about in order to cash in on his life insurance policy and make herself wealthy. It is a tragedy that Dominic Sarkar died for such a selfish reason.

However, Moore and her partner-for-hire were quickly apprehended and punished for their crimes. But their story goes to show how little it takes for humans to become selfish and evil. 

Maria Moore and Marvel Salvant. Fremont Police Department

The Executive Chef

Sarkar lived in Fremont, California. He was an executive chef for the Passage to India restaurant in Mountain View.

He was an Indian chef who had worked at high-end restaurants around the world, including in New Delhi, Dubai, Philadelphia, and Orlando, before settling in the Bay Area. Sarkar moved to California alone, leaving behind his daughters in India, so he sought companionship.

This is where Maria Moore enters Sarkar’s story. Moore was a woman who was a few years younger than the esteemed chef and who would become his romantic partner.

Moore claims that the two of them had a casual relationship, although the couple had lived together for a time. Sarkar had even listed Moore as a domestic partner on official paperwork.

The most important of this official paperwork was his life insurance policies. 

Moore Becomes the Beneficiary

Sarkar took out two life insurance policies in the last few years of his life. At the time, he had no idea that he would soon be dead.

The first policy he took out was in April of 2016. This insured Sarkar’s life for $500,000, and was taken out by him and Moore together.

Moore was listed as his domestic partner and prime beneficiary, while Sarkar’s daughters who lived in India were named as contingent beneficiaries. This means that in the event of Sarkar’s death, Moore would receive $500,000

And if she was dead by the time the payout was to be made, then Sarkar’s daughters would instead receive the money. 

Within only a few months, this first policy was edited. The new policy removed Sarkar’s daughters entirely from the plan, instead naming Moore’s son as the contingent beneficiary.

It is unclear whether Moore did this alone, or if she had somehow convinced Sarkar to give her the full benefit of his death. It seems odd to exclude his own children though, especially since less than a year later Sarkar opened another life insurance policy to include his daughters again.

This policy was worth $300,000 and named his daughters as the sole beneficiaries. It was again less than a year though before the second policy was amended, once again removing Sarkar’s daughters and naming Moore as the sole beneficiary.

Considering Sarkar had opened two separate life insurance policies and named his daughters the beneficiaries, it seems that was his wish; so why did someone, likely Moore, keep changing the policy?

A photo the murdered chef, Dominic Sarkar.

The Plot for $800,000

As it turns out, the constant changes to the life insurance plans were a long con set up by Moore as the first step to making a small fortune.

After setting herself up for an $800,000 payday, she hired Marvel Salvant to kill Sakar in June of 2018. The two met when they had lived together for a short period a few years before.

For months, Moore and Salvant traded text messages to determine what their best course of action would be. Then in September, Moore paid Salvant $500 to be a hitman and take out Sarkar.

Salvant began staking out Sarkar’s home, preparing for the kill. Police were able to pull footage from neighborhood cameras where they watched Salvant case the area and wait for Sarkar to return home before driving a few blocks away and parking his car.

From there, he rode a bicycle back into view of the camera as he entered Sarkar’s home. A few moments later, the cameras show Salvant leaving the home on the bicycle, returning in the direction of his car.

Cell phone data recovered by police showed that Salvant had left work and gone to the vicinity of Sarkar’s home. This was just before he appeared on the camera feed.

It showed that he left the area after disappearing from the camera again. Police were called just after midnight in response to the sound of gunshots. When they arrived, they found Sarkar’s body with multiple gunshot wounds. 

How They Almost Got Away With It

The couple were almost able to get away with the crime. Moore even kept her cool and invited Sarkar’s grieving family to stay with her for the funeral.

But before they could even receive the insurance payout, police were able to pull text messages, location data, and video evidence of the crime. Yet the most damning evidence came from Salvant himself.

After committing the murder he told people that he had committed a cardinal sin, and would soon be coming into a large sum of money. This ultimately led to the couple being arrested and put on trial in 2022.

They each received a sentence of life in prison with no parole, while Salvant received an additional sentence for using a firearm. 

Most murders are the result of intense emotions or deep psychological disturbances. But in the case of Maria Moore, the murder of Dominic Sarkar was merely the last step for a large payday.

In a way, that makes the murder worse than that of a psychopath, especially since Moore paid someone else to perform the kill. It was a self-serving and greedy plan that ultimately failed, causing a family immense pain and costing Moore her freedom. 


Pamala Y. Price. “People V Marvel Salvant And Maria Moore.” Office of Alameda County District Attorney, December 27, 2022.

Sederstrom, Jill. “Two Sentenced To Life In Prison For Killing California Chef In Scheme To Get $800K In Life Insurance Money.” Oxygen True Crime, March 22, 2022.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top