Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mastermind of insurance scam jailed three years

Channel NewsAsia, Updated: 19/04/2011

SINGAPORE: The mastermind of a "phantom passenger" insurance scam involving S$266,830.15 was sentenced on Tuesday to three years jail.
45—year—old former freelance insurance claims advisor Hamzah Karim, who faced 39 charges in all, had pleaded guilty to eleven of them. The remaining 28 charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Nine of his accomplices were convicted last week and they were jailed between six weeks and nine months.
Most of them are his family members and friends. They include his 45—year—old wife, Salina Ahmad as well as a mother and daughter pair, 22—year—old Sherin Mohd Irwan and 61—year—old Salijah AB Latef.
He had conspired with them to cheat firms such as Tokio Marine and Fire as well as India International Insurance Companies by submitting false personal injury claims between September 2007 and March 2010.
Assistant Public Prosecutor K. Kalaithasan told the court that Hamzah came up with the scheme in 2007. He was then facing financial difficulties and wanted to earn extra commission by referring personal injury insurance claims cases to law firms.
The court heard that Hamzah received up to S$300 for each case that he referred to them.
APP Kalaithasan said that Hamzah approached his accomplices and offered them the opportunity to make "fast cash" by pretending to be victims of actual traffic accidents.
Most of the cases centred around one that took place between an SBS bus and a motorcycle along Loyang Avenue on 9 May 2007.
Hamzah instructed his accomplices to lie to doctors, claiming that they were injured in the accidents. He also told them to file false police reports with details of the incidents.
Hamzah assured his accomplices that he would handle everything, including engaging lawyers to represent them in the insurance claims.

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