Recent ICAC Cases

13
Jan 2022
Two former insurance agents charged by ICAC admit $750,000 commission fraud

Two former insurance agents, charged by the ICAC, today (January 12) admitted in court that they had conspired to defraud an insurance company of commissions totalling over $750,000 by falsely representing that one of them had handled 10 insurance policies.

Tin Tak-ho, 47, former senior branch manager of Manulife (International) Limited (Manulife), and Alvin Tam Man-chan, 56, former insurance agent of Manulife, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law. Tin further pleaded guilty to five counts of forgery, contrary to Section 71 of the Crimes Ordinance.

District Court Judge Mr Isaac Tam Sze-lok adjourned the case to February 9 for sentence. Tin was remanded in the custody of the Correctional Services Department while Tam was granted cash bail.

The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Subsequent enquiries revealed the above offences.

The court heard that at the material time, Tin was a senior branch manager of Manulife and Tam was his down-line agent. When an insurance product of Manulife was sold, the handling agent would receive a commission while his up-line managers would receive overriding commissions and/or bonuses from Manulife.

In December 2017, Manulife received 10 insurance policy application forms submitted by Tin. The application forms were purportedly signed by nine persons as applicants and Tam as the handling agent. Manulife subsequently released commissions totalling over $470,000 to Tam as the handling agent, and overriding commissions totalling about $280,000 to Tin in respect of those insurance policies.

ICAC inquiries revealed that the duo had reached an agreement to name Tam as the handling agent of insurance policy applications secured by Tin. Tam did not procure the 10 insurance policies or meet the applicants concerned. The relevant initial premiums were arranged by Tin to pay to Manulife and Tam returned the commissions received from the company to Tin.

Had Manulife known that the 10 application forms contained false information, it would not underwrote and issued the insurance policies, nor would it paid the commissions and overriding commissions to Tam and Tin respectively.

Five of the relevant applicants confirmed that they had not applied for the insurance policies concerned and it was revealed that the relevant application forms were forged by Tin without their knowledge.

Manulife had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

The prosecution was today represented by Senior Public Prosecutor Paggie Lee, assisted by ICAC officer William Leung.

To protect the interests of all parties, policyholders are reminded to verify the policy details and identity of the handling agent when signing policy documents. Over the years, the ICAC has been actively promoting corruption prevention services to insurance organisations and arranging ethics training for practitioners. For details, please visit the Ethics Promotion Website for the Insurance Industry (hkbedc.icac.hk/insurance/en/).

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