SINGAPORE: An insurance agent with 11 years' experience cheated his primary school friend, tricking her into paying him S$24,900 for a fake insurance policy.
Sng Kang Xiang, 37, pleaded guilty on Friday (May 28) to one count each of cheating and forgery. Another two similar charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that Sng knew the victim since they were in primary school together. Sng worked as a financial services consultant and insurance agent for AIA Singapore for about 11 years before committing the crimes.
In March 2018, Sng introduced an insurance policy to his friend, claiming it was available for "absolute assignment". According to him, the policy entailed buying over an insurance policy from an existing policyholder.
Before this, the victim had bought other insurance policies from Sng, including policies for her mother, and "had a trusted relationship" with Sng, the court heard.
Sng told the victim that she would have to pay S$24,900 for the policy, which she would have to hold for about a year. After a year, she would receive the base amount of S$24,900 back, as well as an additional US$4,000 (S$5,293).
Believing it was a genuine policy, the victim transferred S$24,900 to Sng's bank account in May 2018. Sng had no intention of selling the policy to the victim as there was no such policy available for transfer by "absolute assignment", the prosecution said.
The victim said her practice of transferring funds directly to Sng's bank account was consistent with what she had previously done. However, on this occasion, Sng did not give her any documents to show that the policy had been transferred to the victim's name.
Investigations revealed that AIA's policy was for clients' money to be transferred directly to the company and that it should never have been transferred to Sng's bank account.
Sng used the money to pay for renovations to his flat and to pay off his credit card bills.
When the victim did not receive any proof that the policy had been transferred to her name, she began chasing Sng for documents and sent him repeated reminders.
On Jul 24, 2018, Sng sent the victim a letter with AIA's letterhead that had purportedly been issued on Jun 10, 2018, stating that the policy had been transferred to the victim.
He had forged the letter, intending to deceive the victim, the court heard. However, the victim had grown suspicious of him and separately verified with AIA if her payment had been received.
When Sng found out that the victim wanted to visit AIA's office to verify the status of her policy transfer, he attempted to dissuade her, further raising her suspicions.
The victim later visited AIA and learnt that there was no insurance policy transferred to her name. After an internal investigation, a compliance officer from AIA lodged a police report in August 2018.
AIA compensated the victim for her losses later that month, and Sng made full restitution to AIA about a year later. Sng will return to court for mitigation and sentencing in July.
For each charge of cheating and forgery, he could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.