SINGAPORE - An associate engineer who claimed to be the driver of two fabricated accidents to cheat an insurance company was sentenced to nine months' jail on Tuesday.
Lau Soon Kwan, 40, pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to cheat by submitting a Singapore Accident Statement to report himself as the driver in two separate traffic "accidents'' along Loyang Avenue and Bishan Street 21 in 2009.
NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative was tricked into believing that the accidents were genuine and paid out $8,610. Three other similar charges involving $6,000 were considered during his sentencing.
Lau is appealing against sentence.
The court heard that between 2008 and 2009, three alleged masterminds conspired to recruit car owners and drivers to report themselves to the authorities as the drivers in fake accidents.
The individuals were in fact not present but lied to trick insurance firms into believing that real accidents had happened.
The masterminds would then arrange for phantom drivers and passengers to submit property damages and bodily injury claims against car insurers .
The fraudulent claims involved nine fake accidents and 20 people including Lau and the masterminds.Claims amounting to more than $300,000 were submitted and insurers paid out about $156,000.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gregory Gan said that some time in March 2009, Lau was involved in an accident while driving his Honda Fit car. When he approached his cousin, Teo Kok Hwee, 37, who is one of the alleged masterminds and has been charged, the latter recommended that he take his car to Su Chia Ern, 45, who ran a motor workshop, Concept Services Enterprise. Su - the second alleged mastermind - has also been charged, as has the third, Pepin Pan Weida, 32.
Su arranged for Lau to report himself as the driver of the two purported accidents along Bishan Street 21 and Loyang.
NTUC paid out $1,500 to Concept over an own property damage claim and $7,110 to a car owner.
Lau could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.