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MAS bans 2 ex-bank staff, 2 ex-insurance agents for fraud, dishonest conduct

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued prohibition orders (POs) that took effect from May 4 against two former bank employees and two former insurance agents for fraudulent and dishonest conduct, it said on Friday.

The four individuals are: Kale Jagdish Purushottam, a former Singapore branch representative of Barclays Bank; Liaw Tick Kwan, a former representative of DBS and Standard Chartered Singapore; and former representatives of Manulife Financial Advisers, Priscilla Tien Ling and Mike Chew Jun Yong.

They are prohibited from providing financial advisory services, taking part in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of any financial advisory firm under the Financial Advisers Act.

In addition, the former banking representatives are prohibited from performing any regulated activity, taking part in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of any capital market licensee under the Securities and Futures Act.

Meanwhile, the former insurance agents are prohibited from carrying on business as, or taking part in the management of, any insurance intermediary under the Insurance Act.

The POs were issued following the individuals' convictions in the State Courts for offences involving fraud and dishonesty, MAS said.

MAS assistant managing director for policy, payments and financial crime, Loo Siew Yee, said the four had abused the trust of their customers or employers for personal gain.

She added that Purushottam’s case was particularly serious, as the offences took place over a long period and involved a large number of unauthorised transactions, causing substantial losses to his former employer and clients.

Purushottam, whose PO will last 25 years, forged signatures and banking documents to deceive Barclays into transferring about US$10 million from three clients’ accounts to a third party for payment of his debts between May 2010 and January 2013.

He then made more illegal fund transfers from and raised unauthorised loans in the accounts of nine other clients, to cover up the shortfalls in the three clients’ accounts and to pay his debts. 

When he received queries from the clients on the unauthorised transactions, Purushottam forged documents to convince them that the transactions had been entered in error and had since been reversed.

He also engaged in a number of unauthorised stock and foreign exchange trades in an attempt to generate profit to reduce the loans and shortfalls in his clients’ accounts. These unauthorised trades caused further net losses of at least US$10 million to Barclays.

Purushottam was convicted of forgery, cheating under the Penal Code, and of offences under the Computer Misuse Act, and sentenced to 13 years’ jail.

Liaw, whose PO will last 10 years, used a client's bank account without authorisation to make several outward transfers between September 2013 and May 2014.

The client had entrusted Liaw with his Internet banking security token and login details after the former bank representative helped the client apply for Internet banking facilities.

Liaw also made unauthorised transfers to a second client’s bank account and convinced the second client to transfer the money to him.

In March 2015, Liaw then deceived the first client into signing a blank cheque, which he claimed was for the payment of a management fee. He received nearly S$200,000 as a result of his criminal conduct, which he used for personal investments and expenses.

He was convicted of cheating, unauthorised use of a client’s Internet banking security token, and concealing the benefits of criminal conduct. He was sentenced to 46 months’ jail.

Former Manulife agents Tien and Chew both received POs for six years after cheating their employer of S$3,700 and S$1,750 respectively.

Their offences took place between June 2017 and February 2018 for Tien, and June 2017 to April 2018 for Chew.

The pair, who were colleagues, conspired with a chiropractor to cheat Manulife in order to grow their respective insurance and chiropractic businesses. 

The chiropractor referred patients from his clinic to the pair, who would then sell them Manulife personal accident policies despite knowing that the policies did not cover the patients’ pre-existing medical conditions.

The pair then facilitated claims for the cost of the patients’ chiropractic treatments by falsely stating that these clients had only sustained injuries and sought treatment after the policies had come into effect.

They were both convicted of cheating, with Tien sentenced to eight months’ jail, and Chew sentenced to six months’ jail.

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