About the AIA insurance case

Former AIA insurance agent Sally Low faces 19 charges of cheating and fraud.
Former AIA insurance agent Sally Low faces 19 charges of cheating and fraud.ST FILE PHOTO

The AIA insurance scam made headlines late in 2010 as the first case here where an agent allegedly sold a non-existent policy.

The past several years have been a nightmare for Mr and Mrs Ong Han Ling, whose purchase of a seemingly "simple" insurance policy in 2002 has turned into a web of betrayal and legal suits.

Mr Ong said the saga began around 2000 when he and his wife, Madam Enny Ariandini Pramana, bought policies from insurance agent Sally Low.

The five-year AIA Thank You plan bought in 2002 required a single premium payment of about US$5 million.

The Ongs alleged that it was only in 2008 that they found out from AIA that no such policy existed. Instead, the US$5 million was used by Low to buy four AIA policies in the Ongs' names but without their knowledge.

They also alleged that midway through the life of the AIA Thank You policy, Low told them that computer errors at AIA had caused three policies to be erroneously issued in the Ong family's name.

 

She is accused of then convincing the couple to surrender these policies and handing the insurance proceeds over to her as they had been led to believe that she was authorised to collect the funds on behalf of AIA. The three sums were about US$5.29 million, US$1 million and $1 million. But there were no computer errors.

Low, a former top agent at AIA, earned more than $300,000 in annual commissions from new policies in 1999 and 2000.

In 2011, she was charged with 19 counts - four of cheating, 11 of fraudulent use of forged documents and four of moving crime proceeds to bank accounts and to partially pay for a property.

In December 2013 she pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud and cheating.

However, when she appeared in court six months later, the State Courts rejected her plea after she disputed parts of the prosecution's statement of facts and claimed that she was a victim of a ploy by the Ongs to cheat AIA.

The State Courts treated her as having retracted her guilty plea.

The criminal case now appears to be moving to trial and the prosecution could proceed on all 19 charges totalling $8.89 million in claims against her.

Low, who was made bankrupt by her previous set of lawyers, has changed several lawyers in the last few years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'About the AIA insurance case'. Print Edition | Subscribe