MAS bans six former insurance agents, bank staff for fraud and dishonesty

The Monetary Authority of Singapore issued prohibition orders ranging from six to 12 years on six individuals, who were formerly insurance agents and bank employees. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday (March 19) said it has issued prohibition orders ranging from six to 12 years on six individuals, who were formerly insurance agents and bank employees.

Separately on Thursday, MAS said it has imposed a S$400,000 composition penalty on licensed trust company TMF Trustees Singapore for failure to comply with anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism requirements.

The prohibition orders, which took effect on Wednesday, were meted out following the six individuals' convictions in the State Courts of Singapore for offences involving fraud and dishonesty. The cases are not related.

The highest ban duration of 12 years went to Poh Kim Chuan, former representative of Great Eastern Life Assurance. Poh had misappropriated a total of almost S$190,823 between 2007 and 2012 from 32 policyholders. He was sentenced to 34 months' imprisonment.

Ten-year prohibition orders were issued to Chew Kheng Swee and Yap Bin Chun.

Chew, a former representative of Prudential Singapore, had cheated five victims of a total of $325,310 by getting them to make lump-sum premium payments for insurance policies and later using the money for his own purposes. He was sentenced to 45 months of imprisonment.

Meanwhile, Yap, a former representative of UOB, devised a plan to cheat his client of S$218,000 from his unit trust investments. While being investigated by the police for this offence, Yap cheated a second victim of S$20,000. He was sentenced to 42 months' imprisonment.

William Lin, a former representative of OCBC Bank, was served an eight-year prohibition order. Lin had cheated a client of S$30,535 by deceiving her into believing she would be partially surrendering a policy. He executed a full surrender instead to keep the balance of funds for himself and forged the victim's signature. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail.

Allan Lam and Kelvin Goh were issued six-year prohibition orders.

Lam is a former representative of AIA Singapore who wilfully made a false entry in a return under the Income Tax Act. He declared his income for the 2014 assessment year to be S$123,796 instead of S$403,356, resulting in undercharged tax.

He also used his clients' names without their knowledge to forge 36 payment vouchers to show he paid referral fees to these individuals in his documentary evidence to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. He was sentenced to four months in prison and fined S$151,045.

Goh, a former representative of NTUC Income, had lied to a client in order to gain a cash cheque of almost S$27,400 for a lump sum payment on a policy - which he later used to repay debts to moneylenders. He was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.

All six individuals have been banned from providing financial advisory services and taking part in any management, director, or substantial shareholder role of any financial advisory firm under the Financial Advisers Act.

Poh, Chew, Goh and Lam have been banned from carrying on business or taking part in the management of any insurance intermediary under the Insurance Act.

Meanwhile, Yap has been banned from performing any regulated activities, taking part in any management, director or substantial shareholder role of any capital market licensee under the Securities and Futures Act.

In a separate statement, MAS said that TMF Trustees Singapore has paid the S$400,000 composition penalty in full.

TMF also identified and sought to address the root cause of the failures with the assistance of an independent consultant. Prompt remedial measures to address all deficiencies were also taken.

To focus on remediation efforts, the company also voluntarily refrained from accepting new trust customers for three months.

Between June 2011 and April 2018, the company failed to comply with MAS's anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism requirements.

MAS had assessed that TMF did not exercise sufficient oversight and placed the latter at risk of being used as a conduit for money-laundering and terrorism financing activities.

TMF did not verify the source of wealth for settlors of trusts who presented higher risks of money laundering and terrorism financing.

It also failed to monitor, on an ongoing basis, the transactions of trust relevant parties. Particularly, TMF did not scrutinise such transactions to ensure consistency with its knowledge of the trust relevant parties' business and risk profile as well as the source of funds.

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