SINGAPORE: Four former insurance agents and two former bank employees were issued prohibition orders for fraud and dishonest conduct, essentially banning them from several financial practices for a period of between six and 12 years.
The six men, who have been convicted in court, previously worked for Great Eastern, Prudential, UOB, OCBC, NTUC and AIA, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a news release on Thursday (Mar 19).
The six cases are not linked.
“The first five individuals abused the trust that their clients placed in them for their personal gain, while the last individual forged documents in order to evade taxes,” said Ms Loo Siew Yee, assistant managing director (Policy, Payments & Financial Crime) at MAS.
“MAS expects representatives of our financial institutions to act with honesty and integrity at all times.”
THE SIX CASES
A 12-year prohibition order was issued to Poh Kim Chuan, a former insurance agent with The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company, barring him from activities like providing financial advisory services.
This was after Poh misappropriated a total of S$190,822.59 from 32 policyholders between 2007 and 2012.
The money was meant for the payment of premiums for existing insurance policies, topping up of policies, buying of new policies as well as payment for renewal of car insurance and road tax, MAS said.
Poh was convicted of criminal breach of trust and cheating under the Penal Code and was sentenced to 34 months’ jail.
In another case, a former representative of Prudential Assurance Co Singapore Chew Kheng Swee was issued a prohibition order for 10 years. He cheated five victims of a total of S$325,310 and attempted to cheat Prudential.
“(Chew) deceived the victims into making lump sum premium payments for insurance policies, but instead used the money for his own purposes," MAS said.
“He also forged signatures on insurance policy documents to deceive Prudential into accepting applications for the policies in two victims’ names without their knowledge.”
For his crimes, Chew was sentenced to 45 months in jail.
Yap Bin Chun, formerly with the United Overseas Bank, was also given a 10-year prohibition order after he cheated two people – one during the course of a police investigation.
For his first victim, Yap came up with a plan to cheat his client of S$218,100 from his unit trust investments.
Knowing that the victim would not be in Singapore for a considerable period of time, Yap obtained signatures from the victim on blank forms, MAS said.
These blank forms allowed Yap to redeem the client’s unit trust, open a new bank account and apply for a debit card so that he could withdraw the redemption proceeds from the unit trust investment without being detected by the victim.
As the police were investigating Yap for the first offence, he tried to cheat a second victim of S$20,000 by lying and saying he required the money for bail.
Yap was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
An eight-year prohibition order was given to William Lin Weiwen,a former employee of OCBC, and he was sentenced to 16 months in jail after cheating a client of S$30,535.
Lin deceived a client into believing she would be partially surrendering a policy, but subsequently executed a full surrender instead in order to keep the balance of the funds for himself, MAS explained.
To get the funds without the victim knowing, Lin got her signatures on various documents to open a new bank account in the her name so that he could receive the funds without her knowledge.
He then transferred part of the funds to her and forged a letter, purportedly issued by the insurer, to give her the false impression that a partial surrender of her policy had been completed.
He also forged the victim’s signature on a cheque linked to the bank account to pay for his personal purchase.
Once an agent with NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative, Kelvin Goh Shang Fei was issued a prohibition order of six years after lying to his client. He was sentenced to 15 months in jail.
Goh lied to his client that the client would receive vouchers worth S$1,000 if he made a lump sum payment on his policy.
The client handed over a cash cheque of S$27,399.90, which Goh used to repay his debts to moneylenders.
A former insurance agent with AIA Singapore, Lam Allan, was among the six men who were issued with prohibition orders.
Lam has been banned for six years from activities like providing any financial advisory services after trying to evade taxes.
Lam had wilfully made a false entry in a return made under the Income Tax Act by declaring that his income for Year of Assessment 2014 was S$123,796 instead of S$401,356. This resulted in an undercharged tax amounting to S$50,348.20.
When the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) asked Lam for documentary evidence of his declared expenses, he used his clients’ names, without their knowledge, to forge 36 payment vouchers showing that he paid referral fees to these individuals and forwarded the forged documents to IRAS.
For his crimes, Lam was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment and a penalty amount of S$151,044.60.