Sumter, SC – A South Carolina man has been accused of cutting off a person’s hand so he and two others could collect an insurance payout.
Back in May of 2008, the recession had kicked into high gear. People were losing their jobs, watching their investments dwindle and losing their homes. Perhaps the resulting desperation motivated the plan hatched by 34-year-old Gerald Hardin and two unnamed cohorts.
Federal investigators allege that Hardin used a pole saw, a small chain saw attached to a pole normally reserved for removing tree limbs, to saw off the hand of an accomplice. After a trip to the local emergency room, doctors unsuccessfully tried to reattach the extremity.
Conveniently, a member of the trio had the foresight to take out three death and dismemberment policies on their now-one-handed co-conspirator. After cashing in on these policies, along with a homeowners insurance policy settlement, the group netted over $671,000 which they divided between them.
It is unclear what spurred the investigation by the FBI, but sufficient evidence was gathered to result in them charging Hardin with six crimes, including mail fraud.
Hardin has since been released on $100,000 bail. His history of legal troubles, which include charges for assault, drugs, DUIs, and criminal domestic violence, will likely be noted by prosecutors as he faces up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The insurance companies presumably would like their claims to be reimbursed, as well.Tags: Crime, dismemberment, fraud, Gerald Hardin, hand, insurance, pole saw, South Carolina