A Letter to My Dog, Half Pint

This last year may have been the worst one of my life, but at least I've got the world's two greatest dogs by my side to help me stagger into 2018. Today's post features a letter to Half Pint. Benjamin will be getting a letter later this week--he'd never let me hear the end of it, otherwise. Also, this posts features a lot of short video clips of Half Pint being silly. Since I apparently can't do anything right these days, they are exclusively shot in vertical mode. Please accept my apologies (and cut me some friggin' slack).

Weird Crime Wednesday: Insurance fraud is never a good way to make money...even if your friends tell you having your hand cut off is worth it.

(photo @ sodahead.com)

Sumter County, South Carolina

One evening in May of 2008, Gerald B. Hardin and two of his friends came up with a scheme that would potentially make all three of them rich.  Their idea involved defrauding multiple insurance companies with false claims, which by itself isn't terribly original and doesn't have a very high probability of success.

As anyone who has dealt with homeowners insurance is well aware, these guys don't mess around. You can't just submit a claim that says "HOLY CRAP CTHULU JUST RAN THROUGH MY HOUSE" and expect to get a payout.  There needs to be physical evidence that an accident/catastrophe truly did happen (and caused you damages) that's covered by your policy.

But someone in this trio of masterminds (reports do not say which one) happened to have a very lucrative homeowners insurance policy. They realized that if one of them also took out multiple personal insurance policies that left him well covered in the case of accidental death or dismemberment, the payout would be enormous if one of three were to have an in home "accident."

In what had to be the most intense game of rock/paper/scissors (or drawing straws) that has ever taken place, someone ended up losing, bought the personal insurance policy, and agreed to have their hand cut off with a pole saw.

Like this, only without the ability to request a "best out of three" tournament

For those unfamiliar with what a pole saw is, below is a video of some dude in a blue bandana using one to cut tree branches (while completely bizarre/unsettling music plays in the background).

After the screaming and massive amounts of blood subsided a bit, the man was transported to a Charlotte hospital where doctors were unsuccessful in their attempts to reattach his hand.  Afterwards, the trio cashed in on the homeowners and personal insurance policies to the tune of $671,125 (most of which hopefully went to the dude that gave up an extremity).

Their insurance companies, however, were justifiably skeptical about the sequence of events and subsequent claims that were filed.  Once the FBI got involved (presumably because they crossed state lines for their hospital visit), it wasn't too long before one of the stupidest "get rich quick" schemes ever conceived was discovered and shut down.

Gerald B. Hardin was released on $100,000 bond (!) and is currently awaiting trial.  His fellow conspirators have yet to be charged or identified, although one of them definitely won't be clapping at the end of The Avengers movie when it comes out on May 4.

If convicted, Hardin faces the possibility of 20 years in jail along with a $250,000 fine.

Actual mugshot of Gerald B Hardin @ thestate.com
...and a lifetime of people shooting him nervous glances when he offers to "give them a hand."


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Melissa said…
These people are weird. It's sad that some people would risk their lives just earn money but it's even worse when they would do it for a bad reason. I hope they get the proper charges against them. home owners insurance company
I found your article to be thought provoking and you also raise many good things to consider. I'm glad I came across this website and saw your article. It helped me out with a paper I had to write for a class I'm taking for my major at my university. I will be citing you as a source. Thanks for the great article.

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Jayden said…
Although there are cheap insurance plans, you still have to compare health insurance you are eying on to others in the market because it is difficult to be a victim of these men. It is good that they were caught, but I know there are a lot more like them out there who continues doing their monkey business.
Maylie J said…
As a medical assistant, it saddens me that while many of our patients are having troubles with hospital expenses and rely most on insurance plans to help them, there are still people who do this. One part of our medical assistant training program is to assist the patients with their medical plans, I hope I won't encounter any victim of these scams anymore.

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