Ex-insurance agent jailed after Manulife duped into making $1,750 in payouts

Mike Chew Jun Yong admitted to three counts of cheating and was sentenced to six months' jail. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A Manulife financial adviser teamed up with a colleague and a chiropractor to make $8,855 in fraudulent claims.

As a result, the insurance company was duped into making payouts totalling $1,750.

Mike Chew Jun Yong, 37, admitted on Friday (Oct 18) to three counts of cheating and was sentenced to six months' jail.

Court documents said he committed the offences with then director of the Chiropractic Focus Group (CFG) Charles Loo Boon Ann, 30, and Priscilla Tien Ling, 27, who was also a Manulife financial adviser at the time.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Foong Leong Parn said they became acquainted in early 2017 and hatched a scam in which Loo would refer CFG patients seeking treatment for pre-existing conditions to Chew and Tien.

The pair would sell Manulife personal accident insurance policies to the patients, who would go back to CFG and claim the cost of treatments against the policies they had bought.

DPP Foong told District Judge Chee Min Ping: "The accused and co-accused persons were aware... that the Manulife personal accident insurance policies did not cover pre-existing conditions and that the cost of the patients' treatment at CFG therefore could not be claimed against the policies. Nevertheless, the accused and co-accused persons facilitated claims made by the patients."

The court heard that Loo provided reports that stated the patients had sought treatment for injuries sustained on a date after the inception date of their Manulife insurance policies.

Meanwhile, Chew and Tien submitted claims to Manulife despite knowing the details were untrue. In some cases, the pair also wrote false details in the accident claim forms to facilitate the insurance claims.

The DPP said: "The accused and Priscilla hoped that through their collaboration with Charles, they would be able to increase their customer pool and sell more insurance products to the patients referred to them by Charles.

"In addition, the accused and Priscilla hoped that they would be able to earn more commission for every successful insurance policy enrolment."

It was not mentioned in court if the patients were aware they were involved in a scam. Court documents also did not state how the offences came to light.

Loo, who later left his CFG post and became its shareholder, was sentenced to eight months' jail in August. The case involving Tien is pending.

Both Tien and Chew are no longer registered insurance agents.

In a statement on Friday, the General Insurance Association of Singapore urged people to report suspected fraud cases with supporting evidence.

Insurance fraud, estimated to cost millions a year, is committed by consumers as well as qualified professionals in the industry, said its spokesman. "If left unaddressed, fraudulent claims will continue to drive up the cost of premiums."

For each count of cheating, Chew could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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