A 22-year-old Slovenian woman is headed to prison for lopping off her own hand in order to commit insurance fraud.
A court in Slovenia sentenced Julija Andlesic to two years in prison for allegedly cutting her hand off with a circular saw in order to make a fraudulent claim, according to an Associated Press report. The court found that Andlesic and her boyfriend conspired to sever her left hand above the wrist in early 2019. Her boyfriend was sentenced to three years in prison, while his father received a one-year suspended sentence.
About a year before cutting her hand off, Andlesic signed contracts with five different insurance companies. She stood to collect more than €1 million, about half payable immediately and the rest in monthly instalments, the AP reported.
After Andlesic severed her hand, her boyfriend and his father took her to the hospital, claiming she had injured herself while sawing branches. Authorities alleged that they left the hand behind rather than bringing it to the hospital to ensure that Andlesic’s disability would be permanent. However, police recovered the hand and it was reattached, the AP reported.
Prosecutors also said that prior to the incident, Andlesic’s boyfriend had searched the internet for information about prosthetic hands.
Andlesic insisted that she was innocent, the AP reported.
“No-one wants to be crippled,” she said in court. “My youth has been destroyed. I lost my hand at the age of 20. Only I know how it happened.”
The Slovenian case isn’t the only incident of limb-lopping for cash. In the 1950s and 60s, the city of Vernon, Fla., gained notoriety due to the improbably high number of residents who made insurance claims for accidental limb loss, leading many to speculate that town residents were dismembering themselves for insurance payouts. At the time, Vernon accounted for nearly two-thirds of accidental-dismemberment claims nationally, according to Wikipedia.
“Vernon’s second-largest occupation was watching hound dogs mate in the town square,” insurance investigator John J. Healy told The New York Times. “Its largest was self-mutilation for monetary gain.”