A Spanish farmer who cut off his own hand off to fraudulently claim insurance has been jailed for four years and ordered to pay a €3,000 fine and repay €335,000 (£253,000) in insurance money.
The 42-year-old man, from the rural region of Castellón, staged the elaborate ‘accident’ in order to help pay off his mortgage.
He had been having financial troubles in 2007, according to the court sentence, and hoped that the money he would get from his insurance policies would help clear his debts.
A 42-year-old farmer from the rural region of Castellón (pictured) staged an elaborate scam to claim money from insurance by cutting his own right hand off and pretending he was in a car crash
In the early hours of December of that year, the farmer, identified as Miguel B.P by local newspaper Las Provincias, took a sharp blade and hacked off his own right hand.
He applied a tourniquet bandage to stem the bleeding, got into his car and drove in the pitch black to a point where there was a curve in the road.
The farmer then crashed into a ditch next to an orange grove, landing ‘practically perpendicular’, reported the International Business Times.
Miguel then placed his severed hand in the footwell of the car and set it alight with petrol he had brought with him.
When the emergency services – which he had contacted – arrived to his aid, he was found calmly ‘smoking a cigar’, the court heard
At the time, the farmer from Nules told police he had swerved to avoid an animal in the road before crashing the car down the embankment.
He claimed that a metal bar had smashed through the windscreen and sliced his hand off.
Following the incident, Miguel was able to collect money from 12 insurance policies with eight different companies to the value of around €1.9m (£1.4m), according to Las Provincias.
José Luis Nieto, the chairman of Gesterec, which investigated the man’s insurance claim, the cut was too clean to have been caused by a car crash told The Telegraph: ‘It was absolutely straight like the cut of your shirt sleeve.
‘In a car accident, there is always a ripping of the flesh and when we saw a photocopy of the X-ray, it was clear that the bone had hardly been touched.’
The case was brought to court after a private detective agency – working on behalf of the insurance companies – looked into the case.
The First Section of the Provincial Court of Castellon found him guilty of fraud.