Twists and turns in insurance scam case

Twists and turns in insurance scam case
Sally Low's lawyers yesterday discharged themselves from representing her. She was also ticked off by the judge for delaying matters.

A startling twist has emerged in the saga of ex-AIA agent Sally Low, who yesterday retracted her guilty plea to charges of duping an elderly businessman into buying a bogus insurance policy for US$5.06 million (S$6.3 million).

Low, 37, had pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud and cheating in December, but the State Courts yesterday rejected her plea after she disputed parts of the prosecution's statement of facts (SOF).

She also claimed she was a victim of a ploy to cheat the insurer, AIA, instead.

As a result, the prosecution's offer to proceed on four charges of fraud and cheating - with the remaining 15 charges taken into consideration - lapsed.

That offer was made on condition that Low plead guilty to two charges of cheating, one charge of fraudulent use of forged documents and one charge of moving crime proceeds to a bank account in Hong Kong.

The case now appears to be headed to trial, even though Low has claimed she "doesn't have the resources for trial".

The prosecution could proceed on all 19 charges totalling $8.89 million in claims against her. Of the 19 charges - four were for cheating, 11 were for fraudulent use of forged documents and four were under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

According to the SOF, Low, in 2002, told Indonesian Chinese businessman Ong Han Ling, 73, that he and his wife, Enny Ariandini Pramana, 72, had been selected to apply for a promotional insurance plan called the AIA Thank You policy, even though Low knew that such a product did not exist.

After receiving US$5.06 million, Low, without their knowledge or consent, used the monies to buy four AIA policies for Mr Ong, his wife and grand-daughter, effecting the purchases by submitting 11 forged documents to AIA.

One of the policies was an IGP Plus policy, which was paid with $5 million of the monies, and processed using forged documents that purported to bear Mr Ong's signature, according to the SOF.

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