One of the chief architects of an insurance fraud scheme in Singapore has been sentenced to two years and seven months in jail.
Tay Boon Hian, 46, led a group of fraudsters that staged car accidents and defrauded insurers out of over SG$125,000, according to a report by Channel News Asia. He pleaded guilty to three charges of engaging in a conspiracy to cheat, while eight other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Tay, who owned a car leasing firm, facilitated the staged accidents by providing vehicles to be used, alongside Kenneth Wong Chong Wee, one of his former employees. Wong recruited the “phantom driver” for the accidents, while a man named Ng Chong Kai helped stage the accidents and referred the damaged vehicles to repair shops in exchange for a commission, the report said. Lim Yang Peow acted as a “stuntman” to create rear-end collisions.
The four men worked together in 2008 to stage the accidents. They would then later recruit individuals to pose as drivers and passengers for the fabricated collisions to receive insurance payouts. Total claims amounted to SG$157,086, while insurers paid out SG$125,481.
Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh asked the Court for a sentence of two years and nine months for Tay, to act as a deterrent to such schemes, which are often difficult to detect.
“There is a pressing public interest to deter motor insurance fraud to keep a lid on increasing insurance premiums and to protect the wider public from having to suffer financially,” Koh said.
Meanwhile, defence lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan argued for a shorter sentence, as the case was being heard 12 years after the offences. According to Murugaiyan, Tay was summoned to the police station in 2011 to give his statements, but he was not held in custody and was free to travel.
Tay then went to China and Indonesia for business, and then returned to Singapore in 2014 to renew his passport. He was only arrested in 2019 upon returning to Singapore again.
“The police have not gone to the house or given any letters to family members inquiring after his whereabouts,” Murugaiyan said.