Ex-bank executive gets 34 months' jail for pocketing $274k via insurance scam

Chng Kunda, then working at OCBC Bank's Ang Mo Kio Hub Premier branch, pocketed a total of $274,000 by lying to clients about cash rebates from their insurance premiums. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - For three years, a bank relationship manager received more than $400,000 from eight clients by lying to them that they would get cash rebates if they made lump sum payments for their insurance premiums.

Chng Kunda, then working at OCBC Bank's Ang Mo Kio Hub Premier branch, pocketed about two-thirds of the money, amounting to $274,000.

The 32-year-old, who faced 40 charges, was sentenced to 34 months' jail on Friday (Dec 8) after he admitted to 13 charges of cheating, forgery and transferring the benefits of his crime.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chong Yonghui said investigation showed that from August 2011 to April 2014, Chng had told the eight clients that they could receive cash rebates if they made lump sum payments to Great Eastern (GE) Insurance for their insurance premiums. No such cash rebate was in fact being offered.

His clients agreed to make lump sum payments either through fund transfer or cash withdrawal from their fixed deposit accounts, both of which required them to fill in forms with OCBC.

For each withdrawal from fixed deposit account, Chng indicated in the form that it was a "cash'' withdrawal and asked his client to sign. Using this form and his client's identity card, he went to OCBC Chua Chu Kang Branch to deposit the money into his mother's account.

For payment through fund transfers, Chng filled in GE as the credit account in the client's carbon copy, but left it out in the bank's original copy. His clients did not notice anything was amiss as their carbon copies showed GE as the payee.

Chng then filled in the credit account section in the original copy with his mother's bank account details. He subsequently withdrew the money and spent it.

In August 2013, two clients complained to OCBC that they were receiving reminder letters from GE that their premium amounts were outstanding even though they had paid Chng.

During an internal inquiry by OCBC, Chng admitted that he had kept the lump sum payments made by the two clients in his DBS account. But he did not admit any wrongdoing, or disclose that he had also taken lump sum payments from other clients.

Instead, he told OCBC that he would be making timely premium payments to GE on behalf of the two clients. He then forged his bank statements to create the impression that the money was still in his bank account.

Of the $414,000 he received from cheating, $30,000 was recovered. Another $110,000 was paid to GE for insurance premiums and he pocketed the remaining $274,000.

A police report was made on April 14, 2014 alleging that Chng had been taking clients' funds.

OCBC has since made payment to GE on behalf of Chng's clients to reinstate their insurance policies which were terminated due to lapses in their premium payments. The bank also refunded the clients for money taken by him. The total exposure suffered by OCBC amounted to $276,814.

OCBC terminated Chng's services on April 30, 2014.

No restitution has been made. Chng, now an operational manager, was allowed to defer sentence until Jan 19 to make care arrangements for his father.

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