Italian police arrest gang who broke victims' limbs with iron and concrete to make false insurance claims

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They often had to spend weeks or months on crutches or in wheelchairs.

The alleged perpetrators are accused of grievous bodily harm, extortion, insurance fraud and money laundering.

They allegedly injured their victims and then placed them alongside damaged vehicles on the side of roads.

Specially-coached fake witnesses would recount the “accidents” to the emergency services when they arrived at the scene.

The operation was code-named Tantalus, after a Greek mythological figure who was punished for eternity by being made to stand in a pool of water that he could never drink, beneath a fruit tree which he could never reach.

The gang used blocks of cement or 20kg body-building weights to fracture legs and arms, sometimes offering the victims anesthetic but often not.

The arrests were a follow-up to a similar operation last summer, when the authorities arrested 12 people in Palermo, who were also accused of breaking victims’ bones in order to claim insurance pay-outs.

Among those arrested in August was a nurse who allegedly provided painkillers for the victims.

The latest arrests were the result of information gleaned from three of the people apprehended last summer.



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