Former bank loan officer sentenced to eight months in prison for using fake documents as genuine

On April 26, 2022, 26-year-old Lau Wei Chong Nicholas (“Nicholas”), a former Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (“OCBC”) contract bank loan officer, was convicted and sentenced in aggregate to eight months in prison for three account having used as authentic false income documents, which he had certified and submitted with customers’ credit card and loan applications. Another count of the same offense was considered for sentencing purposes.

In April 2020, police received reports that false payslips and Central Provident Fund (“CPF”) contribution statements were submitted to the OCBC as proof of income to support four separate claims for credit cards and loans. Surveys showed that applicants initially responded to loan advertisements they encountered on online platforms, which offered assistance in obtaining a loan or credit card from a bank at short notice and for service charge. They were then contacted by unidentified third parties who asked them to apply for the credit cards or loans in person at certain OCBC branches. The claimants visited OCBC branches four times without providing any proof of income, and they were picked up by Nicholas.

Applicants normally submit the originals of their payslips and/or collect their last CPF employment contribution statement in the presence of the loan officer. However, Nicholas did not ask the four applicants to show him the income documents in the aforementioned manner. Instead, he received their documents via email or WhatsApp and then certified them as authentic even though he had reason to believe they were not. Two of those claims were approved and OCBC suffered losses totaling $36,446.19.

Anyone found guilty of using as authentic a false document under Article 471 of the Penal Code shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding four years, or both.

Financial institutions in Singapore require credit card and loan applicants to show proof of income. Members of the public are advised not to respond to advertisements by third parties offering to obtain credit facilities from financial institutions, without requiring any proof of income. The police take seriously anyone who may be involved in using or helping to use false documents to apply for credit cards and bank loans. Authors will be treated in accordance with the law.

April 26, 2022 at 5:40 PM

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