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Disability fraud ring busted in Taiwan

Individuals feigned stokes and other serious illnesses but raced go-karts, ran for exercise, and did kung fu

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An alleged insurance fraudster go-karting. (Jizhe Baoliao photo)

An alleged insurance fraudster go-karting. (Jizhe Baoliao photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Southern Criminal Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has cracked a fraud case involving a couple surnamed Li (李) and Kang (康) who collaborated with an insurance agent.

The married couple assisted 11 policyholders in feigning severe medical conditions such as a stroke to make fraudulent insurance claims. Over the course of two years, the group made NT$7.59 million (US$236,000) from insurance premiums, with Kang and Li taking a 20% cut from each claim, reported UDN.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Kang (75) and Li (74) had previous convictions for fraud. They were acquainted with an insurance agent surnamed Xu (許). Initially, Xu would contact the policyholders, and sell them disability insurance.

Kang and Li would then wait for six months to a year before having the policyholders imitate symptoms of a suspected stroke. Examples were one-sided limb weakness and numbness, after which they would seek medical treatment.

To ensure the deception would not be discovered during medical examinations, Kang told the policyholders to simulate symptoms of physical paralysis, speech impairment, and dementia. He told the claimants to tell doctors that a stroke would deprive them of their ability to make a living.

After obtaining medical diagnoses of stroke from doctors, the policyholders claimed disability insurance payouts. From 2020 until their discovery in August, at least 11 individuals pretended to be ill and applied for compensation.

When assessors visited claimants' homes for inspections, Li would show them how to act paralyzed in a chair and even assist in changing claimants' diapers. Eventually, the fact that all the policyholders were assisted by the same agent, resided in Tainan, and traveled to Kaohsiung for medical consultations raised suspicions of organized insurance fraud, leading to the filing of a case with the CBI.

Police evidence showed that, despite possessing medical reports indicating stroke-related paralysis, the policyholders were capable of physical activities such as running and kung fu. Their social media accounts featured photos of them driving go-karts.

Alleged disability insurance scammer goes for a jog. (Jizhe Baoliao photo)

Alleged disability insurance scammer goes for a jog. (Jizhe Baoliao photo)

During the investigation, all 13 individuals involved were brought in for questioning. When the police arrived at the residences of those who possessed disability certificates, their condition seemed to have miraculously improved and they were able to move freely without support.

Following questioning, Kang and Li, along with the other individuals, admitted to the insurance fraud. All 13 individuals were transferred to the Tainan district prosecutor's office for further investigation on charges of fraud.