Recent ICAC Cases


22
Jun 2022
Insurance agent charged by ICAC over $30m commission scamThe ICAC today (June 22) charged an insurance agent with conspiracy to defraud for allegedly recruiting a number of persons to join an insurance company as dummy agents and making false representations that they had handled over 200 insurance policies to deceive the insurer of commissions totalling about $30 million.Lo Yin-wa, 30, insurance agent, faces one count of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law. She was released on ICAC bail, pending her appearance in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Friday (June 24) for mention.The charge alleges that between February 2016 and June 2020, the defendant conspired with a unit manager of Sun Life Hong Kong Limited (Sun Life HK) and six downline agents of the unit manager to defraud Sun Life HK by dishonestly falsely representing that the downline agents were the respective handling agents of 208 insurance policy applications; and causing Sun Life HK to approve those applications and to pay commissions, incentives, bonuses and allowances to the unit manager and downline agents.ICAC investigation revealed that at the material time, the defendant was a branch manager of another insurance company. She recruited the above seven persons to join Sun Life HK and told them they were not required to source any clients.During the above period, Sun Life HK received 208 insurance policy applications, mostly involving high commission rate insurance products, purportedly handled by the six downline agents. After approving those applications, Sun Life HK released commissions, incentives, bonuses and allowances totalling about $30 million to the six downline agents and the aforesaid unit manager.The defendant had allegedly controlled the bank accounts of the six downline agents which were used to receive the above commissions, etc. and rewarded them with a monthly payment of a few thousand dollars each. The 208 insurance policies concerned eventually lapsed after subsequent premiums were not paid.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. The defendant was charged after seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice. As the relevant corruption investigation is continuing, the ICAC does not rule out further law enforcement actions.Sun Life HK has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.The ICAC calls on insurance practitioners to adhere to their pledge of integrity and urges them not to take part in any corrupt and illegal activities.In order to assist the insurance industry in strengthening its corruption prevention capabilities in key operational areas such as verifying the commission of agents, the Corruption Prevention Department had collaborated with the industry to produce the “Corruption Prevention Guide for Insurance Companies”. The Community Relations Department will continue to collaborate with the industry for providing integrity training to insurance practitioners. Insurance companies and practitioners could also refer to the dedicated webpage tailor-made for the industry.
21
Jun 2022
Ex-manager of insurance broker charged as ICAC probe reveals referral fee fraudThe ICAC today (June 21) charged a former sales manager of an insurance broker for allegedly deceiving the firm into paying referral fees totalling over $25,000 to her husband by making false representations that he was the referrer of 25 insurances policies taken out by a number of clients.Anny Pang Wai-chun, 52, former sales manager of Cinergy Insurance Services Limited (Cinergy), faces 10 counts of fraud, contrary to Section 16A of the Theft Ordinance.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, the Commission sought legal advice from the Department of Justice, which advised charging the defendant. She was released on ICAC bail, pending her appearance in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (June 23) for plea.At the material time, Cinergy was an insurance broker which assisted clients in taking out various insurance policies, including employees’ compensation, public liability and vehicles insurance. For insurance policies successfully taken out, Cinergy would receive commissions from the relevant insurance companies.Cinergy allowed its sales managers to recruit referrers for client referral. For each successful referral, Cinergy would pay the referrer a referral fee. In April 2018, the defendant recruited her husband as a referrer.The charges allege that between July 2018 and August 2020, the defendant, by falsely representing to Cinergy that her husband was the referrer of 25 policies taken out by 10 policyholders, and with intent to defraud, induced Cinergy to pay referral fees to her husband in relation to those policies.ICAC investigation revealed that Cinergy had released referral fees totalling over $25,000 to the defendant’s husband for the above 25 policies.Cinergy has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
16
Jun 2022
Ex-site team leader charged by ICAC with soliciting and accepting bribes from public hospital expansion project workersA former site team leader of a subcontractor of an expansion project of United Christian Hospital was charged by the ICAC yesterday (June 15) with soliciting and accepting illegal rebates totalling over $25,000 from four carpenters and bar benders for securing their employment with the subcontractor and favourably disposed to them at work.The investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, the ICAC sought legal advice from the Department of Justice, which advised charges be laid against the defendant.Tsoi Wai-tung, 44, former site team leader of Star Power Engineering Limited (Star Power), faces three counts of conspiracy for an agent to accept advantages and one count of agent soliciting an advantage, contrary to Sections 9(1)(a) and 9(1)(b) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and Section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.The defendant was released on ICAC bail, pending his appearance in the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow (June 17) for plea.The alleged offences took place between December 2020 and May 2021. At the material time, Star Power was a subcontractor for carpentry and bar bending works of the above expansion project. The defendant, a site team leader of Star Power, had referred a number of workers to work at the construction site under his supervision at a daily wage ranging from about $1,300 to $1,400.Three of the charges allege that the defendant separately conspired with three workers for the defendant, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, to accept illegal rebates totalling about $25,000 from the trio, as an inducement to or reward for assisting them to secure and continue their employment with Star Power.The remaining charge alleges that the defendant, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, solicited an illegal rebate of $100 per working day from another worker as an inducement to or reward for being or remaining favourably disposed towards the latter at work. ICAC investigation revealed that the worker rejected the defendant’s solicitation.The ICAC calls on the construction industry to adhere to integrity and further reminds construction workers that if they are asked to pay illegal rebates or “referral fees”, they should refuse immediately and report to the ICAC. The Commission will continue to collaborate with the Government, public bodies and the Construction Industry Council to provide corruption prevention services to the industry, and step up its efforts in promoting the “Don’t bribe for Jobs” message to frontline construction workers.In order to assist public bodies and construction companies in strengthening their corruption prevention capabilities to tackle possible illegal conducts in recruitment, the Corruption Prevention Department has produced the “Corruption Prevention Checklist on Recruitment of Construction Workers”. The construction industry and its frontline workers could also refer to the dedicated webpage tailor-made for the industry.Star Power has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
15
Jun 2022
ICAC probe reveals ex-money exchange branch manager uses false documents over $7.6m remittanceThe ICAC today (June 15) charged a former branch manager of a currency exchange company with using remittance application forms containing false information to deceive the company that a customer had settled the remittance amount in full before remitting a total of $7.6 million.The investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, the ICAC sought legal advice from the Department of Justice, which advised charges be laid against the defendant.Au Yeung-hin, 28, former branch manager of Hui’s Brothers Foreign Currency Exchange Company Limited (Hui’s Brothers), faces 10 counts of agent using document with intent to deceive his principal, contrary to Section 9(3) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.The defendant was released on ICAC bail, pending his appearance in the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Friday (June 17) for plea.At the material time, the defendant was a branch manager of Hui’s Brothers. He was responsible for overseeing the operation of a branch in Tsuen Wan. When handling a remittance, staff members of the branch were required to submit to Hui’s Brother a remittance application form containing details of a remittance. According to the company’s policy, a remittance would only be processed after a customer had settled the remittance amount in full.The charges allege that on 10 occasions between November 23, 2020 and January 4, 2021, the defendant, with intent to deceive Hui’s Brothers, used 17 remittance application forms each containing a false statement that the remittance amount had been settled by cash by the remitter.ICAC investigation revealed that the above remittance application forms involved 17 remittances of a customer totalling $7.6 million. It is alleged that the customer did not settle the remittance amount in full in advance, and made a partial payment after Hui’s Brothers handled each remittance.Hui’s Brothers has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
13
Jun 2022
Trio charged after ICAC graft probe reveals $37.5m critical illness insurance compensation scamThe ICAC today (June 13) charged three persons, including a former insurance agent and a policyholder, for allegedly conspiring to deceive an insurance company in applications for critical illness and medical insurance claims by arranging cancer patients to pose as relevant policyholders to undergo medical examinations at various clinical institutions so as to obtain required medical certificates. The scam involved 10 insurance policies and the claims amounted to about $37.5 million.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Upon legal advice from the Department of Justice, Wong Ka-keung, 43, former insurance agent of AIA International Limited (AIA); Lo Chun-kit, 44, driver; and Leung Wai-kin, 40, renovation worker, have been jointly charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law. Wong alone further faces four similar offences and three counts of forgery, contrary to Section 71 of the Crimes Ordinance.The defendants will appear in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow (June 14) for mention.The alleged offences took place between October 2017 and December 2020. At the material time, Wong was an insurance agent of AIA who assisted Lo in taking out two insurance policies with AIA.Two of the charges allege that Wong, Lo and Leung conspired together with other persons to defraud AIA by dishonestly falsely representing that Lo had been diagnosed with cancer and that the medical expenses incurred were for his treatments; thereby causing and inducing AIA to approve the critical illness and medical expenses claims made by Lo and to pay him compensations in accordance with the two insurance policies took out by Lo.Four other charges allege that Wong conspired together with other persons to defraud AIA by dishonestly falsely representing that Wong and the two policyholders (the trio) had been diagnosed with different types of cancer; thereby causing and inducing AIA to approve the critical illness claims made by the trio and to pay them compensations in accordance with eight insurance policies taken out by them.It is alleged that Wong, Lo and other persons falsely represented to AIA that they were diagnosed with different types of critical illness, namely lymphoma, throat, breast, stomach and ovarian cancer. They had allegedly arranged cancer patients, including Leung, to pose as relevant policyholders to undergo examinations at various clinical institutions so as to obtain the required medical certificates.ICAC investigation revealed that Wong was the handling agent of all of the above 10 insurance policies and the policyholder of six of them. The critical illness and medical expenses claims in relation to those insurance policies amounted to about $37.5 million.The remaining charges allege that Wong made three false certificates of sickness with the intention that one of the imposters in the scam should use them to induce somebody to accept them as genuine.AIA has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation. As the relevant corruption investigation is continuing, the ICAC does not rule out further law enforcement actions.The ICAC calls on insurance practitioners to adhere to their pledge to integrity and urges members of public and policyholders not to take part in any insurance-related corrupt and illegal activities. To assist the insurance industry to adhere to integrity and prevent corruption and fraud, the Corruption Prevention Department had collaborated with the industry to compile the “Corruption Prevention Guide for Insurance Companies” which assists insurance companies in building and strengthening their corruption prevention capabilities in key operational areas such as claims verification. “Corruption Prevention Guide for Insurance Companies”The ICAC will continue to collaborate with the industry in providing integrity training to insurance practitioners. They may contact the Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre of the Community Relations Department. In addition, the ICAC produces corruption prevention resources for insurance companies, insurance practitioners and policyholders. Information is available at the Ethics Promotion Website for the Insurance Industry.

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