Saturday, January 16, 2016

Man who cut off hand in insurance scam jailed

A farmer in Castellón, Spain, cut off his right hand and staged a car accident to claim insurance money. Castellón's provincial court sentenced the man to four years in prison as well as a fine of €3,000 (£2,275, $3,275), on top of the €335,000 (£254,500, $365,500) in insurance money that he will be forced to repay.

According to the court sentence announced on Wednesday, the farmer was having financial troubles in 2007, struggling to pay off his mortgage so he came up with an elaborate plan to cash in on insurance policies. In the early hours of December 10th of that year, he took a sharp blade and hacked off his own right hand, entirely with the intent "to collect the insurance" the court wrote, adding that it was unclear whether he had had assistance in the amputation or had managed it alone.

According to court papers, the man from the rural region of Castellón in eastern Spain then applied a tourniquet to stem the bleeding, got in his car and drove to a point where there was a curve in the road. He swerved off, landing the car ""practically perpendicular" in an orange grove, and then carefully staged an accident by placing his severed hand in the footwell and torching the car with some petrol he had brought with him.

The man, identified only as Miguel B.P., 42, of Nules, then called emergency services and when police and firefighters arrived at the scene was found calmly "smoking a cigar". The farmer went to eight different insurance companies to collect compensation. "Yes, it's unusual - a bit unusual," a spokeswoman from the Spanish General Council of the Judiciary said. "You do see cases like this sometimes, but not regularly."

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