Former Schalke 04 youth player Hiannick Kamba has been jailed for faking his own death in 2016 as part of a plot to land insurance payout.
The 35-year-old and his wife, who is only identified as Christina von G. due to strict local privacy laws, have been handed sentences of three years and 10 months in prison for the fraud.
The elaborate scam began when Kamba travelled to his native Congo in January 2016 and supposedly died in a car crash.
Following his supposed death, Kamba's wife claimed a six-figure amount on his life insurance upon producing documented proof of her husband's death.
Then, three years later in 2019, Kamba was discovered alive and well in Ruhr, Germany, working as a chemical technician for a company that previously employed him in 2013.
An investigation was launched, and Kamba told the authorities that he did not fake his own death, instead claiming that he was kidnapped and left in a remote village without any documents, money or a telephone.
However, according to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, he went to the German embassy in Kinshasa in March 2018 and told officials that his wife and mother had him kidnapped and dumped him in the jungle so they could cash in on the insurance scheme.
Both defendants remained silent during the trial, which ended with them receiving equal sentences of three years and 10 months.
The ruling is not yet binding and both Kamba and Von G. can still appeal.
Kamba came through Schalke's academy, playing alongside future stars such as Manuel Neuer and Benedikt Höwedes.
He went on to join lower-league sides SV Zweckel and VfB Hüls.