PALERMO, Sicily (AP) — Italian police say gangsters dropped 25-kilo (55-pound) weights on the limbs of drug addicts, alcoholics and other indigents in an insurance fraud racket that faked car accidents to obtain hundreds of thousands of euros in claim payments.
Palermo police official Rodolfo Ruperti on Wednesday said 11 persons, including a nurse suspected of procuring anesthetics, were arrested in the crackdown on two Palermo-based criminal organizations. Ruperti told Rai News24 TV that the fraudsters "convinced" people they recruited at Palermo's train that they'd become rich in exchange for being mutilated. But virtually all the money went to the criminals.
The investigation was triggered by the 2017 death of a Tunisian man initially thought to be victim of a road accident. Instead, police said, he died from a heart attack after being mutilated.