Former OCBC financial consultant admits to cheating clients of S$170,000 in fake time deposits

3 months ago 89

SINGAPORE: A former financial consultant with OCBC Singapore cheated five of his clients of S$170,000 in fake time deposits, picking existing clients whom he knew were not technologically savvy and who would trust his explanations.

Hoi Wei Kit, 34, pleaded guilty on Monday (Jan 17) to seven charges of cheating, acquiring benefits of criminal conduct and giving false information to a public servant. Another 13 charges will be considered in sentencing.

The court heard that Hoi was a financial consultant at OCBC from October 2015 to April 2018. He sold insurance and investment products to clients and helped individuals open OCBC bank accounts.

Hoi was a gambler. He managed to address the problem between 2014 and 2017, but began gambling again in September 2017, amassing debts in a month's time.

In a bid to pay off his gambling and personal debts, Hoi devised a scheme to defraud his existing bank clients.

OCBC Singapore would occasionally introduce promotions for investment products that were typically available for a limited time, for financial consultants like Hoi to sell to clients.

Hoi identified five existing clients who were not tech-savvy, knowing they would rely on his explanations if they signed up for financial products. Three of them were aged 60 and above at the time of the offences.

Hoi then targeted them by telling them they were eligible for a promotional time deposit with attractive interest rates of either 8.8 per cent or 11.88 per cent.

He took into account several factors, such as the types of forms needed and which account to transfer the victims' funds to. 

To avoid involving branch officers in his scheme and risk discovery, Hoi transferred his victims' funds to his colleagues before having them transferred to him or handed over in cash.

He would lie to his colleagues about why money was being transferred to their accounts, before asking him to transfer the cash to him.

One of the victims visited an OCBC branch on Apr 9, 2018, requesting to withdraw her fixed deposit of S$30,000 which she had placed with Hoi in January 2018.

The bank branch manager lodged a police report a few days later, saying that internal investigations showed there was no such deposit placed in the victim's name.

The bank interviewed Hoi, who admitted that he had defrauded five customers of various amounts totalling S$170,000.

While Hoi was being investigated for the...

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