Man caught torching truck in insurance scam

A ONE Mile man with a 'below average intelligence' torched his truck and tried to claim close to $40,000 in insurance.

Mario Santourtzis, 56, was caught trying to defraud NRMA Insurance for the value of his delivery truck more than six months after the company became aware to his intention.

The insurance company received information in June 2015 which revealed Santourtzis was having financial difficulties and planned to defraud the company after burning the truck.

Despite the tip-off, Santourtzis carried out the plan six months later.

Santourtzis took the vehicle to a mechanic repair shop to have the brakes fixed in December 2015 and had a conversation as to whether someone would damage or destroy the vehicle for an insurance claim.

A few days later the truck was taken from the shop and Santourtzis set it alight in a vacant block of land at Richlands. Police found an empty jerrycan beside the vehicle.

Santourtzis contacted NRMA to make a claim, which was refused.

He pleaded guilty in Ipswich District Court yesterday to one count each of arson and fraud.

A report revealed Santourtzis had a 'below average intelligence' and 'an intolerance of the risks of engagement in non-consequential thinking'.

Judge Dennis Lynch said Santourtzis' offending was a result of his low intelligence and other problems.

"As a result you lost the vehicle and as well as were required to account for the value of the vehicle," he said. "The only person that suffered as a result of the offending is you."

Santourtzis was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for three years.

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