Taiwanese Student Got His Own Leg Amputated to Pull off Insurance Fraud; Here's How he did it

Taiwanese Student Got His Own Leg Amputated to Pull off Insurance Fraud; Here's How he did it
Pexels | Photo by Pixabay

As authorities continue to crack down and strengthen defences against fraudulent schemes, scammers consistently come up with innovative tactics, and some can be beyond astonishing. As part of one such bizarre attempt at insurance fraud, a 23-year-old university student in Taiwan, identified only by his last name Zhang, actually orchestrated the amputation of his own legs for a $1.3 million insurance payout. The elaborate plot, orchestrated by Zhang's friend from high school, Liao, ultimately resulted in Zhang receiving a mere $7,200 from one insurer, which is now Seized.

Pexels | Photo by RDNE Stock project
Pexels | Photo by RDNE Stock project

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The Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau revealed that Zhang's ill-fated endeavour began when Liao, facing losses from cryptocurrency trading, duped Zhang into participating in the fraudulent scheme. Zhang was convinced to undergo a double amputation by subjecting his feet to extreme frostbite, achieved by plunging them into a bucket of dry ice for over 10 hours. This drastic measure was intended to simulate a severe frostbite injury, thereby validating Zhang's insurance claims.

To further bolster the scam, Zhang purchased multiple insurance policies, including life insurance, travel insurance, and accident insurance, just days before the planned incident. On the night of January 26, 2023, Zhang and Liao rode around Taipei on a motorbike, attempting to create the facade that Zhang had suffered frostbite while riding the vehicle. However, medical professionals noticed discrepancies in Zhang's injuries upon his admission to the hospital.

Investigators noted that Zhang's legs lacked any evidence of shoe or sock marks, and the injuries exhibited symmetrical patterns inconsistent with natural frostbite. Moreover, the weather conditions on the night in question did not align with subzero temperatures typically associated with frostbite, as temperatures hovered around 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the amputation below the calf due to the frostbite injuries, Zhang's fraudulent activities were promptly reported to authorities.

Police discovered incriminating evidence, including the plastic bucket used for the frostbite simulation, insurance documents, and equipment for handling dry ice.

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Pexels | Photo by Pixabay
Pexels | Photo by Pixabay

 

Zhang reportedly managed to extract $7,200 from one insurer, but authorities have moved to seize these funds as part of the legal proceedings. This minuscule payout pales in comparison to the staggering $1.3 million Zhang had hoped to receive through his fraudulent actions.

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Insurance fraud not only jeopardizes the integrity of insurance systems but also imposes financial burdens on honest policyholders. The FBI estimates that insurance fraud costs the average US family hundreds of dollars annually in increased premiums.

Always verify the legitimacy of medical services and treatments claimed on insurance documents. If you receive medical care, ensure that it aligns with your actual experiences and seek clarification if anything seems suspicious or inconsistent. Stay informed about common insurance fraud tactics and be wary of any offers or suggestions that seem too good to be true. Educate yourself about the red flags of insurance scams, such as pressure to make quick decisions or promises of unusually high payouts. Before making any significant decisions regarding insurance policies or medical procedures, consult trusted sources such as licensed insurance agents, healthcare professionals, or legal advisors.

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