A terrible accident or a terribly imperfect crime?
Police and prosecutors in Slovenia are trying to determine the truth after a 21-year-old woman cut off her hand with a circular saw in January this year.
Her family says that it was an accident; that she was sawing off branches on a tree when the saw slipped. However, she is being accused of insurance fraud by investigators in the country's capital, Ljubljana.
The woman had taken out five different insurance policies in the months before her injury and had only made two to three monthly payments for them, police told ABC News. Altogether, for her injury, she would have received $430,000 and monthly payments of $3,388 for 10 years with smaller monthly payments thereafter. However, she has not received anything to date and is being detained, unlikely to walk free anytime soon.
The woman was unemployed and had no other source of income.
She and her 29-year-old relative, who is also being detained, could face one to eight years in prison if convicted of insurance fraud.
"With one of her accomplices, she intentionally amputated her left hand, hoping to stage it as an accident," Ljubljana police spokesman Valter Zrinski said.
Zrinski said that investigators first learned of the alleged fraud through routine system checks, which lead to about 100 arrests each year for different kinds of insurance fraud.
After the woman's hand was severed, her family took her to Ljubljana University Medical Center without the hand in what police claim was an attempt to make sure her disability was permanent. However, upon her admission into the hospital, doctors called police — per Slovene law — and they were able to retrieve the hand. Surgeons subsequently sewed it back on.
"Her hand," Zrinski said, "is recovering well."