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Penalties for insurance fraud – White Collar Crime, Anti-Corruption & Fraud

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It’s the kind of dark scenario you’d likely see play out
in a Quentin Tarantino movie – except that it happened in
real life.

A Slovenian woman deliberately sawed off her own hand with the
help of a circular saw, all for the sake of being able to
fraudulently claim on insurance payouts.

The only problem was, her gruesome attempt at the insurance scam
didn’t quite go to plan, and now the woman is serving a jail
sentence after being caught for the offence.

Let’s unpack this…

Back in 2019, 22-year-old Julija Adlesic from Ljubljana,
Slovenia, was hoping to
rake in a whopping sum of around $1.18million in insurance
after her and her boyfriend staged a plan which saw Ms
Adlesic sever her hand and leave it at home while her partner’s
father drove them to the local hospital.

When they arrived at the hospital, they told doctors that Ms
Adlesic had been sawing branches when the accident happened.

But unbeknownst to them, given Ms Adlesic had previously taken
out five insurance policies a year prior to cutting off her hand,
she was being investigated, and so, not long after arriving at the
hospital, her and a number of relatives were arrested.

They were immediately detained, and if convicted, faced the
possibility of up to eight years in jail for the insurance fraud


In September 2020 at Ms Adlesic’s sentencing, judges ruled
that she had made the intentional decision to saw off her hand
given the woman’s previous dubious history of taking out five
insurance policies a year for supposed injuries.

The court found that she and her boyfriend had deliberately left
the severed hand behind rather than taking it with them to the
hospital in order to ensure the disability was permanent.

Nevertheless, authorities were able to recover it in time and
sew it back on.

Further substantiating the insurance fraud, prosecutors revealed
the woman’s boyfriend had also made several internet searches
about artificial hands in the days beforehand.

They affirmed this was proof that the injury was intentional and
the plan pre-conceived.

Ms Adlesic was subsequently found guilty of attempted insurance

She was sentenced to two years in jail, while her boyfriend was
given a three-year sentence for his involvement in the crime.

Ms Adlesic’s boyfriend’s father was also given a
one-year suspended sentence.

Throughout the trial, Ms Adlesic protested her innocence,
denying that she intentionally cut off her hand.

“No one wants to be crippled. My youth has been destroyed.
I lost my hand at the age of 20,”
she said

“Only I know how it happened.”

Upon delivering the verdict, Judge Marjeta Dvornik said,
“We believe the sentences are fair and appropriate, and will
serve their purpose”.

Had Ms Adlesic not been caught, she would have had half of the
estimated $1.18million paid to her immediately, with the rest
arriving in monthly instalments.


Insurance fraud
– or the deliberate deception of
insurance companies for the purpose of obtaining a financial gain
– is a criminal offence.

Across Australia, the problem costs billions of dollars each
year, and in turn, forces up the price of premiums for

Insurance fraud can be committed on a small scale, or extend to
far-reaching forms of criminal activity.

In NSW, insurance fraud is generally dealt with under
section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900

Section 192E
states that a person who, by any
deception, dishonestly obtains property belonging to another, or
obtains any financial advantage
or causes any financial
disadvantage, is guilty of the offence of fraud.

Additionally, a person’s obtaining of property belonging to
another may be dishonest even if the person is willing to pay for
the property.

Under this section, there is a maximum penalty if convicted of a
10-year prison sentence.

In some cases, you may also be required to pay back the amount
that was defrauded.

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