Man Soaks Legs in Dry Ice to Fake Frostbite for Insurance Fraud

Many have flopped when trying to accomplish insurance fraud. A pair of Taiwanese university students are being accused of faking frostbite injuries that required a warranted double amputation to defraud insurance companies.

Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau reported that a university student surnamed Chang conspired with a former high-school colleague named Liao to orchestrate insurance fraud in January 2023. It all started when Chang took out policies covering disabilities, injuries, health and travel safety from at least five different insurers.

On January 26, 2024, both Chang and Liao rode their motorcycles through Taipei, Taiwan, to make it look like one of them suffered frostbite because of the cold weather. In reality, the frostbite was self-inflicted and caused entirely by a bucket of dry ice.

Chang and Liao were hoping to pocket around $1.29 million from the insurance policies they had taken out. Unfortunately, for them to cash out, one of them had to make a tough choice. After discussing, Chang agreed to give up both his legs in order to secure a bigger piece of the pie.

He soaked his feet in a bucket of dry ice for more than 10 hours and agreed to be tied to a chair by Liao to accomplish the feat and make sure he put up with the intense pain.

On January 28, Chang was hospitalized and suffered a double below-the-knee amputation since doctors could not save his lower limbs. He filed insurance claims almost immediately after being discharged and he got paid $7,240 by one insurer but the rest decided to investigate the case further.

Some of the insurance companies decided to report the case to the local authorities due to its suspicious nature. During the investigation that followed, prosecutors found that Chang had unusually symmetrical injuries that lacked an imprint from his shoes or socks.

Investigators also checked the weather for the night of January 26 and discovered that temperatures ranged from 42 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit, which wouldn’t be cold enough to receive such severe frostbite. While checking the men’s homes, authorities found insurance documents, medical records, as well as a styrofoam box in which dry ice had been stored.

Prosecutors determined that Liao was facing serious financial problems due to losing most of his money on the cryptocurrency market and convinced Chang to go along with his plan in order to get a huge payout. On March 14, 2024, both men were charged with fraud. On top of the initial charges, Liao was also charged for causing his friend’s serious physical injuries.