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Farmer who hacked off right hand in insurance scam is jailed in Spain

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Stock image of a male right hand. Photo: Biswarup Ganguly / Wikimedia Commons.
12:15 CET+01:00
A farmer in Castellón cut off his right hand and staged a car accident to rake in the insurance money.

Castellón's provincial court sentenced the man to four years in prison as well as a fine of €3,000, on top of the  €335,000 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 seen by The Local, 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 in the local newspaper Las Provincias 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.

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"Yes, it's unusual - a bit unusual," a spokeswoman from the Spanish General Council of the Judiciary told The Local. "You do see cases like this sometimes, but not regularly."

An insurance salesman in Germany was found guilty in 2014 of insurance fraud after he sawed off his own finger and thumb to collect what would have been €1.4 million in payouts.

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