74 months’ jail for helping to stage 21 car accidents in $1.1m insurance scam

Rahmat earned about $200 for each vehicle he collected, and when he helped the owners or drivers make false insurance claims.
Rahmat earned about $200 for each vehicle he collected, and when he helped the owners or drivers make false insurance claims.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

He got phantom drivers, passengers to file fake claims totalling $1.1m

A member of a well-organised syndicate, who helped to stage 21 car accidents in a bid to make more than $1.1 million in fraudulent insurance claims, was jailed for six years and two months yesterday.

Rahmat Mohd, 37, a former dispatch rider, had pleaded guilty to 25 charges of abetment to cheat and attempted abetment to cheat, with another 88 similar counts taken into consideration during sentencing.

He was part of a syndicate of at least 29 people, and committed the offences between May 2011 and October 2013, cheating 16 insurers.

District Judge Low Wee Ping yesterday said Rahmat played a variety of roles which were critical to the motor insurance fraud. He recruited phantom drivers and passengers, or instigated the drivers to plant passengers in their vehicles to make more fraudulent claims.

In one case, he posed as a passenger and submitted one of the highest claims - $52,000 - which was not paid out, the judge noted.

In total, he submitted 44 fraudulent property damage claims and 70 fraudulent personal injury claims, amounting to $1.14 million.

As a result of his abetment, insurers paid out $215,678.

The court heard that in 2011, Rahmat had agreed to help car workshop boss Sollihin Anhar, 42, to make false insurance claims by collecting vehicles from their owners and driving them to deserted locations to stage traffic accidents.

He would position the vehicles in a pre-agreed sequence suggested by Sollihin before causing one car to deliberately crash into a stationary vehicle in front of or behind it.

Acting on Sollihin's instructions, Rahmat also reminded the drivers to report the accidents in the Singapore Accident Statement.

He earned about $200 for each vehicle he collected, and when he helped the owners or drivers make false insurance claims.

Between January 2012 and March 2014, 13 insurers lodged police reports regarding false claims for traffic accidents which occurred at different locations.

In their submissions asking for at least six years' jail to be imposed, Deputy Public Prosecutors Hon Yi and Chew Xin Ying said motor insurance fraud remained a clear and present concern for both vehicle owners and the wider public today, and must be nipped in the bud by deterrent sentencing.

"As noted by the insurance companies, such fraudulent claims are easy to fake, yet hard to detect and economically unfeasible to challenge," they submitted.

In mitigation, Rahmat's lawyer, Mr Krishna Morthy, said his client had been most cooperative, followed instructions and was paid pittance.

Sollihin is claiming trial and his case is pending.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2016, with the headline '74 months' jail for role in motor insurance scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe