Cayce man pleads guilty in grisly fraud case

Gerald B. Hardin is scheduled to appear in federal court in Columbia on Tuesday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A South Carolina man has pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge in a scheme authorities say includes severed limbs.

Gerald B. Hardin of Cayce admitted in federal court in Columbia on Tuesday that he was part of an insurance fraud scheme. Hardin told Judge Cameron Currie that he used a pole saw to cut off the hand of a mentally disabled man in Sumter County in 2008.

Federal prosecutors say another man filed insurance claims based on the injury and collected more than $671,000. In exchange for his participation, Hardin said that man loaned him money for a down payment on a new truck and paid some of his monthly rent.

Hardin has agreed to help prosecutors. He faces up to five years in prison when he's sentenced later.

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