SINGAPORE: A former financial consultant for OCBC Singapore was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Monday (February 21) for defrauding five of his clients of S$170,000 in bogus term deposits.
Sentencing 34-year-old Hoi Wei Kit, the judge said Hoi betrayed the trust placed in him by bank customers and abused the access he was given to customers’ banking information under his work.
The judge said what was worse was that Hoi had “carefully targeted vulnerable victims” who were unfamiliar with the technology.
Hoi pleaded guilty last month to seven counts of cheating, obtaining benefits from criminal conduct and providing false information to an official. Thirteen other charges were considered at sentencing.
He was a financial consultant at OCBC from October 2015 to April 2018, selling insurance and investment products to clients and opening bank accounts for them.
He devised a scheme to defraud the bank’s existing customers when he fell back into his old gambling habit in September 2017 and racked up debt.
He targeted five of his existing customers who weren’t tech-savvy, including three aged 60 and over. He lied to them by telling them that they were eligible for a promotional term deposit with attractive interest rates of 8.8% or 11.88%.
To avoid implicating branch agents in his scheme and risking discovery, Hoi transferred his victims’ funds to his colleagues before either having them transferred to him or handing them over in cash. He also lied to his colleagues about the reasons for the money transfers to avoid detection.
The ruse was uncovered when one of the victims went to an OCBC branch in April 2018 to withdraw his fixed deposit of S$30,000, but was told there was no such deposit.
Internal investigations were launched by the bank and Hoi admitted to defrauding his customers. While under investigation, he committed another offense by filing a false police report that he left a bag containing S$12,350 in customer payments in a taxi.
In fact, he had used the money to pay off loan sharks and filed the report so he could tell his cousin, who was his new employer, that the money was lost.