In a startling turn of events, a 27-year-old AXA insurance agent in Singapore, Xie Huirong, has been sentenced to two years and four months in jail for orchestrating a series of fraudulent schemes, swindling clients and acquaintances out of more than S$193,000 (US$144,100).
The elaborate deception unfolded after Xie faced losses in leveraged cryptocurrency trading and sought illicit means to recover his capital, according to Channel NewsAsia.
Cryptocurrency Losses Lead to Deceptive Tactics
Xie Huirong, employed as an insurance agent at AXA from August 2017 to November 2019, experienced financial setbacks due to losses incurred in leveraged cryptocurrency trading.
Facing the challenge of recouping his losses, Xie resorted to manipulating the trust of his clients and acquaintances, concocting false pretexts linked to their insurance policies.
Victims of Deception
Xie’s victims included a single mother, a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University, a supermarket cashier, and even his own aunt. Exploiting familial and social ties, he targeted those he believed would be more susceptible to his deceptive tactics.
– Single Mother’s Misfortune
- Xie convinced a single mother, a client, to pay her monthly premiums in advance, promising better returns. Under false pretenses, he pocketed S$16,000 from her, leaving her oblivious until AXA continued deducting premiums from her account.
– Aunt’s Fabricated Investment
- Xie misled his own aunt, fabricating an investment opportunity with Temasek Holdings. His aunt withdrew S$55,000 in cash, only receiving a partial repayment of S$7,500 after police intervention.
– Research Fellow’s Unrealized Returns
- A research fellow at NTU was duped into paying S$30,000 for promised returns on her insurance policies. Xie failed to transfer the funds to AXA, admitting the loss later but repaying only a fraction of the amount.
Apart from duping clients, Xie extended his fraudulent activities to unrelated schemes, including cheating a couple of S$20,000 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and exploiting a foreign student for S$4,000 with false promises of securing a student pass.
Legal Consequences and Prosecution’s Stand
Xie pleaded guilty to six charges, primarily related to cheating, with an additional 11 charges taken into consideration. The court sentenced him to two years and four months in jail.
The prosecution sought a sentence of 33 to 43 months, emphasizing the total monetary loss of S$193,235 and the intangible harm caused. It highlighted the premeditated nature of Xie’s offenses, undermining trust and abusing the reputation of Temasek Holdings.
Xie has made partial restitution of about S$77,000 to some victims, but the prosecution stressed the need for a significant sentence considering the severity of his actions.