Man jailed for 3 1/2 years for cheating insurance companies with false accident claims

A man who conspired with others to cheat 15 insurance companies using false accident claims amounting to $720,650 was jailed for 3 1/2 years on Tuesday. The prosecution proceeded on one charge involving $18,169 against Ong Ka Li, 54, who was convicted after a four-day trial.

He admitted to 19 other charges including making a false report. Fifty-four other charges were taken into consideration. Deputy Public Prosecutor Jasmin Kaur told the court that Ong, then a motor insurance claim advisor, provided advice to clients who were involved in traffic accidents on traffic accident reporting and claim procedures as well as recommending workshops to clients for repairs to their damaged vehicles.

His accomplice, Neo Moh Hock, 60, a director of Beach Road Taxi Service, engaged him in 2008 to provide advice to cabbies who rented taxis from Neo's company and were involved in traffic accidents. In exchange for his help, Ong received various commissions from law firms for referring clients in personal injury claims relating to traffic accidents.

In addition, Ong initiated the filing of fraudulent personal injury insurance claims for many "passengers'' who submitted false personal injury claims even though they were not injured in accidents, or in some cases, not even present during accidents. Investigations showed that most of these false passengers were taxi drivers who were indebted to Neo while others were Ong's friends and wanted to earn extra income.

Ong would recruit taxi drivers who were in financial difficulty to pose as passengers in genuine traffic accidents and submit fraudulent insurance claims.

After the payouts, the false passengers would repay their debts to the main accomplice and Ong would earn a cut from the proceeds.

Between April 5, 2007 and Nov 28, 2009, the duo oversaw fraudulent insurance claims related to 44 separate traffic accidents. Claims totalling $720,650 were filed, of which $115,364 were aid out to the various claimants with the bulk of it rejected.

Ong has previous convictions for cheating, criminal breach of trust, theft and corruption. The court backdated his jail sentence to Nov 29 last year.