Phantom driver jailed three months in motor insurance scam

SINGAPORE - An unemployed man who took part in a motor insurance scam was jailed for three months on Thursday.

Tan Eng Chui, 43, pleaded guilty to conspiring with Pan Weida Pepin, 31, Su Chia Ern, 44, and Godfrey Liew Kok Hon, 39, to cheat insurance companies on or before April 22, 2009.

Court documents show that he submitted a Singapore Accident Statement on April 23 that year claiming that he was driving a car the previous day when it was involved in an accident with another car along Upper Thomson Road.

He did this to deceive his vehicle insurer NTUC Income into believing that the accident was genuine, and induced NTUC to pay $1,400 to Concept Services Enterprise as payment for a first party property damage claim.

A district court heard that he befriended Pan when he was working as a stall assistant at a coffeeshop.

After he left his job in 2009, he returned to the coffeeshop and told Pan that he was unemployed.

Pan allegedly told him he could earn extra income by reporting his particulars as a driver of a car which would be reported in a traffic accident.

Tan agreed. He was told he would get an unknown commission from the insurance claim payout.

Investigation showed that property damage claims amounting to almost $7,000 were submitted against NTUC for the purported traffic accident, of which $1,400 was paid by NTUC.

Liew's particulars was used as the driver of the other car involved in the purported accident.

On May 5, 2009, Concept Services, a motor workshop operated by Su, submitted a claim amounting to $1,400 against NTUC for repairs to the car. The amount was paid a week later.

The cases against the others are pending.

Tan, who has a similar charge taken into consideration, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

elena@sph.com.sg