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Bank of Singapore dismisses 40 amid alleged medical benefits claim fraud

Bank of Singapore has dismissed 40 employees following a probe into fraudulent medical claims involving non-eligible items like bird’s nest and skincare products, after ‘hundreds’ of employees were scrutinized over several months.



The Bank of Singapore (BOS), the private banking arm of the OCBC Group, has recently dismissed up to 40 employees following a thorough investigation into fraudulent medical claims.

This was first reported by eFinancialCareers, which highlighted that staff were initially asked to repay the money last year. Employees thought that repaying the funds would resolve the issue, but they were unexpectedly dismissed.

The dismissals resulted from an investigation that uncovered claims for non-eligible items such as bird’s nest, skincare products, supplements, and toothbrushes, leading to significant repercussions for those involved.

Gutzy understands that the probe began in September last year when discrepancies at one of the bank’s panel clinics were discovered when the bank uncovered the alleged misuse of medical benefits.

According to a report from Channel News Asia (CNA), “hundreds” of employees were scrutinized over a several months, resulting in some being dismissed and others facing severe penalties.

Employees involved in more serious cases were not only dismissed but also lost out on their bonuses and a one-off cost-of-living support of S$1,000 intended for junior staff, underscoring the financial impact of the disciplinary actions.

One dismissed employee expressed their frustration to eFinancialCareers, saying, “I reimbursed the bank for the full amount claimed, have forfeited my 2023 bonus, and now have a termination record which will affect my future job prospects in the industry.” This statement highlights the personal and professional consequences faced by the individuals involved.

In response to the allegations, a spokesperson for BOS stated, “Where wrongdoing is alleged, the matter will be investigated and reviewed according to the bank’s investigative and disciplinary framework, ensuring a fair and robust process. Staff involved will be given the time and opportunity to be heard.”

eFinancialCareers noted that a similar issue occurred a few years ago at a US bank in Singapore, where involved employees were simply required to repay the misclaimed amounts.

Sources indicated that the 40 dismissed employees might struggle to find jobs within the financial industry and have even had interviews rejected. They may also fail to comply with the Fit and Proper Criteria under the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) licensing.

The investigation centered around claims made through the company’s medical insurance scheme, which permits employees to claim up to S$10,500 for various medical and dental expenses.

According to CNA, eligible expenses include outpatient consultations, medications prescribed by general practitioners or specialists, non-aesthetic dental services, vaccinations, X-rays, and blood tests. However, the scheme does not cover costs for items deemed medically unnecessary, such as cosmetic surgeries, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and care devices like wheelchairs.

BOS had not required itemized receipts for claims under S$200, which may have facilitated some of the misuse.

The origin of the investigation remains unclear, although it is known that BOS requested records from a clinic, believed to be Drs Thompson & Thomson located in Raffles Place, spanning the past two years.

In a significant development dated November 10, 2023, an email revealed that BOS and OCBC staff would no longer receive reimbursements for invoices from Drs Thompson & Thomson from that date onward. This directive affects all employees and their dependents across several OCBC entities, including OCBC Bank Limited and OCBC Management Services Private Limited, among others.

Responding to the situation, a spokesperson for Drs Thompson & Thomson clarified that the clinic was never part of BOS’ approved panel of clinics.

“Since DTT is not on the panel, claims will have to be made independently by patients,” the spokesperson stated, adding that the clinic adheres to strict protocols to ensure compliance with all applicable health regulations, and maintains detailed documentation to align with established guidelines.

Gutzy also understands that employees who had made medical claims through this clinic were instructed to fill out an electronic form asking if they were aware that the claims were wrongfully made.

Insider information suggests that staff were subtly encouraged to admit their mistakes in exchange for a lighter punishment. This context might explain why the dismissed staff were astonished by their termination from the bank.

The investigation has reportedly extended to other branches of the OCBC Group, which is also conducting its own inquiry into the matter.

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While I agree the bank did the right thing in taking action, I am nonetheless surprised that there is no need to provide an itemised receipt for claims below $200. While the intention and motive looks pure, the gates were open wide for abuse or misuse which has happened. Quite naive of the bank to assume staff will all act nobly. That there was no check done on claims submitted is also odd given there is a list of non-claimables. I guess the bank will review claim protocols now which probably include itemised checks being done. But, it seems not… Read more »

Well done OCBC. Kudos. Now can we see if MAS will do the same to the many Financial Institutions which have been licensed by them who are scamming their customers. The scams are only going to increase unless MAS does an OCBC on these entities. We have a new PM , please clean up and give him a new platform. The tenure of LHL has only increased undesirables and vice on the island.

Have they also investigated former CEO Bahren Shaari? I mean the guy could be a potential future president of Singapore. Was that why he was retired? I hope not, but then Iswaran ….

Very stingy and mean. Bank and bank owner so rich, employee only greedy for freebie and these employee are black mark and black list as fraud with career ruin forever. Labor Day coming yet unfairly dismiss workers for small mistake made purposely.

These employees are bastaxd. Straight away should be sacked. No if and buts.
Their medical coverage is already super good and yet they do such thing to abuse it.
Most of them must be…..Sinkie…gian png by nuture not nature.😆😆😆😆

Good job BOS!
Thats the way to treat corruption..
No coverup…
Are these employees local talents or FTs?