The insurance scam that required a chainsaw

They tied his arm to a tree and cut off his hand.

A while back, I wrote a post about some guys who came up with an insurance scam:
Gerald B. Hardin, from Cayce, South Carolina, was arrested in a plot to defraud an insurance company. He and two others hatched a plan to cut off one of their hands with a chain saw and then file an insurance claim. Initially, it worked. (I guess the severed hand was proof enough.) They got $671,000.

(Man cuts off friend's hand for insurance money, Deceptology>>)
Here's more of the story.

It seems that the ringleader of the scam was a guy named David Player. He was friends with a guy named Michael "Porky" Weaver. Mr. Weaver trusted Mr. Player as a "father figure." Mr. Player was his legal guardian and handled his monthly Social Security checks.

He also took out insurance policies on him for accidental death or dismemberment.

Did I mention that Mr. Weaver is functionally illiterate and mentally incapacitated?

Mr. Weaver was not charged. His attorney said:
"Michael Weaver is a vulnerable victim in this case, and he has been a vulnerable victim throughout."
In a plea deal, Mr. Player pleaded guilty to mail fraud.

But what happened to all the money?

The men initially got $671,000. About $80,000 went to an attorney, and up to $26,000 went to build an auto repair shop.

Also, Mr. Player's wife filed for divorce, which cost him $80,000.

So where's the rest? Mr. Player said he gave $300,000 to Mr. Weaver. Prosecuters don't believe him, and think he's stashed it away.

Said an FBI agent:
"Mr. Weaver benefitted, if anything, very little. He still lives in the same camper he always did. It's a hovel. I don't know how he lives there.
The third guy, Gerald "Trey" Hardin III, already pleaded guilty. He got $5,000 and a car from the scheme. He knew Mr. Player because his mom used to date him. He was going to testify against him, but he didn't have to.

It turns out that Mr. Player's divorce cost him more than $80,000.

His ex-wife found incriminating evidence about his role in the scheme, and her attorney tipped off the FBI.

Mr. Player is facing a 20-year prison sentence.

- Severed hand scam leader pleads guilty, The Item>>
- Ringleader in chainsaw injury scam pleads guilty, the State, South Carolina>>

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