A lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina, bought a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against fire. A month later, after smoking all the cigars, he filed a claim against the insurance company, claiming that the cigars had been destroyed "in a series of small fires". Naturally, the insurance company refused to pay, arguing that he had consumed the cigars in the normal way. The lawyer sued and won. The judge concluded that, on the wording of the policy, the insurance company was liable - it had failed to limit its liability by defining what would amount to an "unacceptable fire".
The company, rather than incur the costs of appeal, paid up $15,000, whereupon it reported the lawyer to the police. He was arrested and subsequently convicted on 24 counts of arson - intentionally burning insured property - and sentenced to two years' imprisonment and a fine.
"This is a true story," the report goes on, "and was the first-place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest."