SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Finger slicer’s insurance scam fails

An insurance salesman who sawed off his own finger and thumb to claim insurance was given a suspended sentence by a court in northern Germany on Friday.

Finger slicer's insurance scam fails
Ralf-Werner arriving in court last week. Photo: DPA

The court in Norderstedt, near Hamburg, handed down the 22-month suspended sentence to Ralf-Werner D. after he was found guilty of trying to defraud his insurers. 

The 50-year-old man had qualified as an insurance salesman shortly before the 'accident' in February 2010 and took out four separate insurance policies – with special clauses covering finger injuries – for himself.

If valid, they would have paid out a total of €1.4 million.

Ralf-Werner claimed his finger and thumb were lost when he tripped and fell over his two dogs onto a circular saw.

But a medical expert said in testimony to the court that it was "particularly astonishing" that the rest of his hand remained relatively intact.

"If I take out three insurance policies eight weeks before such a serious accident for such an irrational sum, something isn't right," the prosecutor said.

He added that the neat wounds to Ralf-Werner's hand were inconsistent with his story.

"There's a lot of evidence against the accused. There was too little blood on the saw. An automatic car was ready to go. That number of coincidences can't be real."

The fact that the injury happened to Ralf-Werner's non-dominant hand was also a tell-tale sign of fraud, prosecutors said.

“The man sitting here is no fraudster,” his lawyer responded at the time.

But police said there was “very little blood” when they searched the basement for Ralf-Werner's missing digits.

His wife 'found' them outside in the snow a week later.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

SHOW COMMENTS