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  • Posted by: Richard Salmon
  • Category: Funny Insurance Claims

Ever since the first insurance contracts were drawn up in 15th century Genoa to protect ships on the high seas, swindling little fraudsters have been trying to con businesses out of money through all manner of mischievous methods. So here are some of the best examples there are of individuals trying to earn a few extra pounds in the most dastardly of ways.

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Cabbage patch insurance bids

It’s not unusual to hear of people faking their own death for a cheeky cash windfall. But some con artists spend just a little bit too much time mulling over their methods. The 67-year-old Scot Anthony McErlean tried to earn himself a cool £520,000 through a scam that involved ‘killing himself’ in Honduras in 2009 by, of all things, a cabbage truck. Yep, he chose death by sauerkraut. It all went a bit wrong when the plonker decided to try to cash-in on his own life insurance plan in his wife’s name, despite the fact that by all accounts he’d already kicked the bucket (of cabbage). The insurers, unsurprisingly, didn’t pay out a penny.

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He makes Tyson look like Iron Tyke

Michael Malloy, or Iron Mike as he became known, is one resilient son of a gun. The beer swigging, moonshine swilling alcoholic bum managed to survive numerous attempts on his life when a quintet of dastardly swines tried to capitalise on the life insurance policies they had taken out on him. The Murder Trust, as they were known in tabloids, were hoping he would just quickly drink himself to death, but he remained steadfast in his alcohol abuse. So they added antifreeze, turpentine, horse liniment and event rat poison to his sauce to no avail. They fed him oysters soaked in methanol, a sandwich filled with poison-laced sardines and carpet tacks and even tried to freeze him to death by leaving him covered in water in his birthday suit in a New York park during the bitterly cold winter. Much to their disapproval, the durable Iron Mike turned up at the speakeasy the fraudsters frequented the next day. The last failed attempt saw him run over by one of the conmen Hershey Green at a speed of 45mph. He suffered broken bones and was hospitalised for three weeks but, nonetheless, survived.

Unfortunately for Mike, they were successful in their final attempt when they just outright murdered him. It would take a serious Rasputin to survive being hooked up to a gas jet via a tube. The poor sod was killed in minutes. Word got out about the incident though, and the five men were arrested, with only Green managing to escape the electric chair.

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Apetrition

There are audacious insurance fraud attempts, and then there are just downright barbaric. The spate of maiming your own pets to make claims on their afflictions definitely falls in the latter. There have been cases in the UK of owners breaking their horse’s leg on purpose so it had to get shot while claiming that the incident was an accident so it was covered on insurance. Poor little Seabiscuit. Julie “Cruella Deville” Pullman’s actions definitely fall into Genghis Khan levels of tyranny with her insurance fraud magic show. The fortysomething from Dorset managed to conjure up eight fictional dogs and claim each one of them broke a leg, despite them being as real as Katie Price’s cans.

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How to really cause some pane in your stomach

Some people go to some extraordinary lengths to achieve their aims in life, others eat glass. Husband and wife duo Ronald and Mary Evano went as far as masticating on the sharp stuff, ingesting it and then going to hospital to get the doctor’s note so they could make an insurance claim against the innocent restaurant. Over eight years they repeatedly carried out this scam 12 times, giving their digestive tracts time to heal between each glass chomping episode after they had been torn to bits. In that time they managed to secure themselves $200,000 in the process, a few pouts of gastrointestinal bleeding and repeated sessions of spewing blood. They were eventually rattled in 2006 when Ronald was arrested, but Mary did a Harrison Ford for a few years before being caught in 2010.

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The commotion of Mr Motion

While Michael “Mr Motion” Taris did not do anything as foolhardy as take down a horse bearing a fencer from the comfort of a wheelchair, he did manage to pave a semi-successful career on the amateur wrestling circuit all the while being incapable of standing up, let alone working. So if you take the fencer out of equation I think the two are comparable. And if you think it sounds questionable, that’s because it is. As you can imagine, when you’re wrestling in the hillbilly gardens of rural Oregon in the World Wide Wrestling Alliance, you’re not going to be making mega bucks. But of all the things to try and feign for financial gain, I think disability is really up there with the most moronic. The light bulb moment occurred when he was stocking up on microwave burritos and Twinkies at his local 7-Eleven. He spotted some spilt coffee and gazed upon it in the same way an inquisitive child who has watched too many cartoons may look at a banana peel, deciding that an orchestrated slip on it was the right idea, sending him arse over tit. Claiming he could not mow the lawn, let alone pull off a piledriver from the top rope, he managed to get a sizeable insurance pay-off. Only he continued to clothesline and power bomb all and sundry while sitting on the cash windfall. He even worked as a masseuse and a male escort at the same time. So much for incapacity, the cheeky so and so.

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My fraud will go on

This is a speculative one, I admit. Remember that big old ship that someone had to go and say would “never sink”? You probably better remember it as a vehicle for Leonardo di Caprio to convince Kate Winslet to get starkers so he could draw her unconcealed form. But like those people who think the late Neil Armstrong never set foot on the moon, there are others who believe that the Titanic never sank and was just a big fat insurance scam. The theory goes that the Titanic was actually its sister ship the Olympic, which was constructed before the ill-fated cruise line. The Olympic had crashed into a Royal Navy cruiser in 1911, writing it off and rendering it a big hunk of useless metal. The liner was found at fault, voiding its insurance and leaving its owners White Star Line very much out of pocket. To make their money back, theorists believe the two ships were switched so the Titanic carried on a 25-year life as the Olympic while the original Olympic had its battered form tended so it could become the fake Titanic destined for a date with an iceberg. The damaged keel was replaced with longitudinal bulkheads to brace it and these were allegedly found when the wreckage was investigated first in 1987. This could all be a load of tosh. But if it is true it would certainly represent one of the most impressive and audacious insurance fraud attempts in history, and one that worked too.