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Farmer's fraud fails despite painful preparation

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Pulling off a successful insurance scam requires a bit of nerve, but a Spanish farmer's fraud took nervy to the next level.

The man was in desperate financial straits in 2007 when he came up with a cold-blooded plan to collect from numerous insurers, according to reports about a provincial court's ruling on his fate this month.

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In December of 2007, the farmer, identified by a local newspaper, as Miguel B.P., 42, of Nules in Spain's rural Castellon region, completely sliced off his right hand as Step 1 of his scheme.

He then applied a tourniquet and drove to a curve in a road where he swerved off, landing in an orange grove. There, he placed his severed hand in the car and torched the vehicle, staging an accident, according to reports.

The court sentenced the farmer to four years in jail, a €3,000 ($3278) fine and an order to repay €335,000 ($366,021) he had collected from eight separate insurers.

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