The time of the straits
January 17, 2022
In an effort to get money to settle his gambling-related debts, a financial consultant at OCBC Bank hatched a plan to dupe five of his clients out of a total of $170,000.
Hoi Wei Kit selected victims who were not technologically savvy and relied on his explanations when signing up for financial products, instead of reviewing the necessary documents.
The court heard that Hoi would contact targeted customers to inform them that they were eligible to open a promotional term deposit account with an attractive interest rate of 8.88% or 11.88%.
He would encourage them to take the promotional term deposit and meet with him to sign the necessary documents.
In reality, Hoi had no intention of helping clients open term deposit accounts, and he got away with their money instead.
On Monday January 17, the 34-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty to seven counts, including five counts of cheating involving $130,000.
Thirteen other counts, including three counts of cheating related to the remaining $40,000, will be considered at sentencing.
Hoi worked as a financial consultant with the bank from October 6, 2015 to April 1, 2018, the court heard. His responsibilities included selling insurance and various types of investment products to individuals as well as assisting in opening bank accounts with OCBC Singapore.
Deputy Attorney General Dhiraj G. Chainani said that Hoi used to gamble and was in debt in October 2017. He then decided to deceive the victims and use his ill-gotten gains to pay off his debts.
Hoi knew that to apply for a typical term account, a client had to fill out and sign at least two types of forms.
One would indicate the details of the term account to be created in the client’s name and the other would authorize the debit of funds from the client’s bank account to the term account.
Since Hoi had no intention of setting up a term account for the victims, he let them sign only the form authorizing the debit of funds from their bank accounts.
He then transferred their funds to OCBC accounts belonging to his associates.
The DPP said: “The defendant would give various fictitious reasons to these associates as to why funds were being deposited or transferred to their accounts. The defendant would then direct the associates to transfer the funds to his own accounts.”
According to court documents, Hoi cheated on his victims from October 2017 to January 2018.
Hoi’s offenses came to light when one of his victims went to an OCBC branch on April 9, 2018 to demand the withdrawal of his fixed deposit of $30,000.
Investigations revealed that there was no fixed deposit account in the woman’s name. A branch manager alerted the police three days later.
Hoi, who made no restitution, is expected to be sentenced in February.
Responding to questions from the Straits Times, OCBC said it reported the matter to police shortly after discovering the fraudulent transactions.
Its spokesperson added: “We take these matters seriously and will not tolerate any violation by any employee of the bank’s code of conduct.”
For each count of cheating, an offender can be imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined.