A friend filed claims for US$1.9m from five companies, saying he had died after falling from a restaurant staircase An insurance fraudster who jumped bail seven years ago while awaiting trial was convicted yesterday in the District Court of faking his death in an attempt to claim US$1.9 million in life cover. King Yiu-nam, who is now 54, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring with Suen Hiu-yuen between June 1995 and January 1996 to seek payouts from five insurance companies by falsely claiming he had died in December 1995 in the mainland. The five insurance companies involved in the insurance fraud were Cigna Worldwide Insurance Company, Jardine CMG Life Assurance, American International Assurance (Bermuda), Canadian Eastern Life Assurance and Manulife (International). King also pleaded guilty to five counts of dishonestly obtaining life insurance policies between June and October 1995 worth US$1.9 million by providing false information. In mid-January 1996, Suen, a beneficiary in the insurance policies, told the companies that King had fallen from a staircase in a restaurant on the mainland in December 1995, hit his head and been certified dead soon after. But the insurance firms became suspicious of King's death. They employed a private detective to investigate Suen's claim and discovered the supporting documents Suen had submitted were false. In June 1996, the insurance firms informed Suen by letter that her claim had been rejected. A report was also made to the police. Suen could not be located. King returned to Hong Kong from the mainland in June 1997. He was arrested and charged with fraud. He subsequently jumped bail while awaiting trial and disappeared. But he resurfaced again in February this year and turned himself in. The court was told that between June and October 1995, King had applied for life insurance with the five insurance companies. King claimed in his applications that his annual income ranged from $600,000 to $2 million, when in fact his monthly salary was $22,000. Government prosecutor Susanna Ku said insurance firms would normally consider the sum insured, the age, the health and the annual income of an applicant in approving the application. Typically, the insured sum is 10 or 12 times an applicant's annual income. The prosecutor said that had the insurers known King's real monthly income and that he had had applied for life insurance with other insurers, they would not have approved his applications. Deputy District Court Judge Julia Livesey adjourned the case until July 20 for sentencing.