Siti Saliha Muhammad Hussain plead guilty to six charges of ‘cheating’ on 29 July, with 14 more charges taken into consideration, according to reports by Channel News Asia. She reportedly made 20 fraudulent claims to a number of insurance firms between 2016 and 2019, resulting in 17 successful payouts.
Companies which fell victim to the scheme included AXA Insurance, AIG Asia Pacific Insurance, NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative, Aviva and FWD Singapore.
Siti Saliha used a mixture of photos of damaged goods, receipts, boarding passes and police reports that she had found online to support her false claims. Some images and documents had been altered using Microsoft Word and Paint to better fit her claims.
She was sentenced to five months of jail time beginning in September, after being granted a deferment to settle her work, as well as loan taken out to repay the insurers.
‘Exploiting the slack checks and balances for travel insurance claims’
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Angela Ang when describing a trip made to Kuala Lumpur by Siti Saliha and her family in September 2016 in which she inflated the price of her lost luggage: “The accused felt that this was another opportunity to exploit the slack checks and balances in place for travel insurance claims, and intended to do so without her family's knowledge.”
Subsequent to these early claims, and having ‘tested the system’, Ang said that Siti Saliha decided to make fake travel insurance claims whenever possible by ensuring she bought policies before every trip. She would also reportedly purchase policies on occasion for the sole purpose of making false claims, despite no trips being planned.
The falsity of her claims were later discovered after some of the insurers found Siti Saliha’s claims to be suspicious, and began carrying out internal investigations of her claims history.
In the US, a former employee of US travel insurer Seven Corners was convicted for her role in a wire fraud scheme worth over US$588,000 in April.