Ex-bank officer charged with forging clients' documents

Former bank officer Paul Liewis charged with falsifying customers' documents to secure housing loans amounting to $7.7 million in total.
Former bank officer Paul Liewis charged with falsifying customers' documents to secure housing loans amounting to $7.7 million in total.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A former bank officer allegedly forged income tax documents to make the bank believe that his clients were earning a higher annual income or had enough cash to qualify for housing loans.

Yesterday, Paul Liew Ziguang, 30, was charged with 13 counts of forgery for the purpose of cheating, involving 11 clients and housing loans totalling $7.7 million.

He was a mortgage specialist with OCBC Bank when he allegedly forged customers' Inland Revenue Authority (Iras) notices of assessment as well as other documents to deceive the bank into believing that the clients met regulatory requirements in their applications for housing loans.

The alleged offences occurred between March 2014 and March 2015. The customers had applied for loans between $244,000 and $1.2 million.

In one of the cases, Liew allegedly forged three of a customer's documents - a pay advice for the month of December 2013, a no-pay leave approval letter and a POSB statement for the month of February 2015 - in applying for a housing loan of $632,000 around March 2015.

Liew, who had no lawyer, indicated that he wished to plead guilty. He told District Judge Christopher Goh that he intended to appoint a lawyer.

His case will be mentioned on Nov 23. A police bail of $20,000 has been extended until then.

Responding to a question from the media, Ms Koh Ching Ching, head of OCBC's Group Corporate Communications, said in an e-mail: "We take a serious view of such conduct. After we discovered the fraud, we reported the matter to the police and took all necessary steps to address it.

"We have since introduced additional measures to prevent future occurrences."

The maximum penalty for forgery for the purpose of cheating is 10 years' jail and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-bank officer charged with forging clients' documents'. Print Edition | Subscribe