Four men involved in a conspiracy to cheat insurers of almost $25,000, by staging a fake road accident, were sentenced to between six weeks and four months in jail yesterday.
Two of them - Rudyanto Sarmani and Sallahudin Ehram - pleaded guilty to providing two vehicles in the four-vehicle "crash".
Meanwhile, Kamis Bakar and Afghani Eusope admitted to posing as injured passengers, even though they were never at the scene.
The plan's alleged masterminds were 38-year-old Mohammad Eunos Zakaria, who is yet to be tried, and 37-year-old Mohamad Nassir Tohar, who died in 2012 in Malaysia.
They recruited various people to be "phantom drivers" to falsely report that they were involved in the accident along Sembawang Drive on July 27, 2009, and to pose as passengers to make fraudulent insurance claims for injuries.
A total of nine people were allegedly involved.
Rudyanto, who was paid $800 in the scam, brought a Toyota van belonging to his employer, Rentokil Initial Singapore, to the scene at about 11pm. There, he saw Mohammad Eunos with three cars parked behind one another.
The 32-year-old also noticed that the cars - a Proton Gen 2, a Hyundai Matrix and a Honda Fit - were damaged. An unknown male took over the wheels of the van and banged it into the rear of the third vehicle.
Rudyanto, who was sentenced yesterday to two months in jail, then cheated Rentokil of $1,563 to cover repairs to the van. He has since paid back half of the repair cost.
Sallahudin, 45, got four months in prison for letting his Proton be used in the scam and for cheating motor insurer NTUC Income of $4,500 as settlement for repairs to his car. He was also charged with cheating Tokio Marine Insurance Singapore of $3,550 on personal injury claims.
A third charge of trying to cheat Tokio on personal injury claims for his wife, who was not present at the accident, was taken into consideration during sentencing.
Phantom passengers Kamis, 53, and Afghani, 41, were sentenced to three months and six weeks in jail respectively.
Afghani, who had made full restitution of close to $5,000 to the insurers involved, received the lightest sentence.
He had told the court that he was crippled from an earlier traffic accident in 2005 and was facing financial distress when he agreed to take part in the conspiracy.
The case of the other five involved will be heard next month.
This article was published on April 26 in The Straits Times.
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