20 headlines on “Singaporean money cheaters” in 2016

1.png

Prelude

1.jpg

1.jpg
Photo credit: CNA (15 Jun 2016)

*Impersonation scams and Internet love scams accounted for the top 10 largest single cheating cases in the first four months of the year, with an impersonation scam claiming the highest amount lost by a victim in a single case this year – S$2.3 million. (Jul 2016)

*Parcel scams involving people posing as Singapore or foreign officials or courier companies have been emerging here, with the police revealing that residents here have lost more than S$4 million since March to these scammers, who operate through phone calls. From March to June, more than 50 police reports were made about people impersonating government officials. (Jul 2016)

*The police said online purchase scams targeting buyers was the most commonly reported, with 995 cases on record this year as of June, involving a total loss of S$765,100. The second most reported were credit-for-sex scams (440 cases) which saw people duped of S$918,200; followed by Internet love scams (298 cases), involving S$11.6 million. (Aug 2016)

1.png

The 20 headlines in this post is a further add on to the article – 11 scams that are happening in Singapore now (AsiaOne, 27 Jul 2016).

Singapore’s January to August 2016 list of swindlers, job, insurance, online, love, DHL phone & parcel scams; PIC, gas, dental, credit card fraud; GST & tax evasions; insider trading, forging of cheques! 

Stay money-vigilant and stay money-clean, my dear Singaporen citizens 🙂

1.png

1.jpg

#Headline 1: Teen cons $14,000 out of job seekers (TNP, 10 Jan 2016)

What was the aftermath of his actions?

Police estimate the man has cheated people of some $14,000. Several mobile phones, SIM cards, bank tokens and cash amounting to $7,500 were seized. He was to be charged with cheating in court.

1.jpg

#Headline 2: Online vice ring pimp who received nearly $2.6m in revenue over 5 years jailed (ST, 11 Feb 2016)

What happened?

 A 38-year-old online vice ring pimp pleaded guilty to evading tax by under-declaring his profit for the year of assessment 2012 in his income tax return. 

He declared his profit to be $40,166, when it was actually $175,779. The tax undercharged amounted to $15,118.25. He also declared his profit for the year of assessment 2013 to be $20,345, when it was actually $160,417. The tax undercharged amounted to $11,846.40.

What was the aftermath of his actions?

He was jailed for 85 months and fined $130,000. He was also ordered to pay a $152,893 penalty for tax offences. Chew Tiong Wei had earlier pleaded guilty to 28 charges, and admitted to another 73 for consideration during sentencing.

1

#Headline 3: 74 months’ jail for helping to stage 21 car accidents in $1.1m insurance scam (ST, 15 Mar 2016)

What happened?

Rahmat Mohd, 37, a former dispatch rider, was a member of a well-organised syndicate (*had at least 29 people) , who helped to stage 21 car accidents in a bid to make more than $1.1 million in fraudulent insurance claims.

In total, he submitted 44 fraudulent property damage claims and 70 fraudulent personal injury claims, amounting to $1.14 million. As a result of his abetment, insurers paid out $215,678.

What was the aftermath of his actions?

He had pleaded guilty to 25 charges of abetment to cheat and attempted abetment to cheat, with another 88 similar counts taken into consideration during sentencing. He was jailed for six years and two months. 

Sollihin was claiming trial and his case was still pending when reported.

1.png

#Headline 4: 488 cases investigated for PIC fraud: Heng Swee Keat (CNA, 5 Apr 2016)

What happened?

As of Dec 31 2015, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has investigated 488 cases for fraud under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme which was launched in 2010. It had aimed to encourage businesses, especially small and medium enterprises to invest in productivity and innovation. 

In February this year, IRAS said it has found more people making false claims upon the advice of so-called consultants. 1,470 claims out of about 71,000 cash payment claims made from Years of Assessment (YA) 2011 to 2015 that have been investigated or audited by IRAS required clawback. 

Follow-up:

IRAS had clawed back about S$11 million under the PIC schemeEight of those cases resulted in prosecution. Another three cases are pending trial. The 11 court cases do not involve consultants.

1.JPG

#Headline 5: Branded handbag retailer fined $190,000 over GST evasion of thousands of luxury goods (ST, 28 Apr 2016)

What happened?

A retailer of branded handbags and wallets has been fined $190,000 for fraudulent evasion of Goods and Services Tax (GST). The total amount of GST  Yu Chung Tan evaded on all the goods exceeded $54,460.

What was the aftermath of his actions?

Yu pleaded guilty to 18 charges and was sentenced by the State Courts. Another 37 charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing. If he fails to pay the fine, he faces a jail term of 11 months and 240 days. 

Under the Customs Act, any person found guilty of fraudulent evasion of GST will be liable to a fine up to 20 times the amount of tax evaded and/or be jailed for up to two years.

1.jpg

#Headline 6: Paradise group found guilty of $640k gas fraud (ST, 2 Jun 2016)

What happened?

After a 30-day trial, popular restaurant group Paradise was found guilty of 29 out of 33 charges of using about $640,000 worth of gas without paying a cent for it, and tampering with gas meters at some of its outlets here.

 

1.jpgFollow-up:  Paradise restaurant chain fined $530k for gas fraud (ST, 25 Jun 2016)

What were the aftermath of their actions?

The Energy Market Authority, which regulates the gas industry, had asked for the maximum fine of $610,000 – $10,000 for each of 21 tampering charges and $50,000 for each of eight dishonest consumption charges. It was fined $530,000 for using around $640,000 of gas without paying for it and tampering with gas meters at some of its outlets.

1.jpg

Photo credit: Voc.fm

#Headline 7: 33-year-old alleged online scammer arrested (CNA, 3 Jun 2016)

What happened?

A 33-year-old man had been arrested for his suspected involvement in online purchase scams. Police said several reports have been lodged by victims since May 28. They were allegedly cheated by a man who had offered supermarket vouchers and iTunes gift cards for sale at a discounted price. The alleged scammer would then be uncontactable after victims have completed their payments.

What was the aftermath of his actions?

He was to be charged in court. If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to 10 years, including a fine. 

1
Photo credit: Forum.sgCafe

#Headline 8: Accounts executive jailed 7.5 years for fraud involving S$2.3 million (CNA, 21 Jun 2016)

What happened?

Chow Lai Hoong, an 53 year old accounts executive had forged hundreds of cheques and misappropriated thousands of dollars in cash. She pocketed S$2,376,641 from two employers over about three years.

What was the aftermath of her actions?

She pleaded guilty to 40 out of 380 counts, the bulk of which were for cheque forgery, and was sentenced to 7.5 years in jail. Chow was also found guilty of two counts under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act for converting S$722,350 of her ill-gotten gains into casino chips, and for passing a portion of the money to her nephew.

The losses were S$90,846 and S$2,285,740 for Chow’s first and second employers respectivelyChow did not make restitution, although S$108,523 – “a mere 4.5% of the total amount” – was recovered. 

For forgery, Chow could have faced up to 15 years’ jail per charge, and ordered to pay a fine. Similarly, for criminal breach of trust, she could have been jailed up to 15 years per charge, and ordered to pay a fine.

2

#Headline 9: 2 dental clinics under police probe for fraud (23 Jun 2016)

What happened?

The Ministry of Health (MOH) suspended two dental clinics (*Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics at Ang Mo Kio and at Marine Parade) from offering subsidised care to middle- and lower-income Singaporeans and the Pioneer Generation because of possible dental fraud. This is the first case of suspension from Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS). 

Audits by MOH have revealed that both clinics have continuously made claims that are non-compliant with MOH rules and guidelines. This includes a number of claims for procedures which, based on the audit findings, were not performed. The two clinics were informed of these audit findings in May 2016. 

1.jpg
Photo credit: socialstudieshealthcare

Response by MOH – MOH suspends Phoenix Dental Surgery Clinics from the Community Health Assist Scheme (22 Jun 2016):

MOH will review the situation, taking into consideration the status of the Police investigations, before considering if the clinics can resume their participation in CHAS. The clinics will also need to satisfy MOH that they have taken all steps to rectify all past non-compliances and are able to ensure future compliance with the rules specified in the CHAS agreement signed by participating clinics, as well as prevailing MOH guidelines and circulars on CHAS. 

Dentists at the Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics can continue to practise as dentists in accordance with their registration with the Singapore Dental Council. However, treatments performed by dentists at these clinics during the period of suspension will not be eligible for CHAS subsidy. 

Audits on MOH schemes, such as CHAS and Medisave, are regularly conducted to ensure that the claims submitted comply with approved uses, rules and guidelines. The vast majority of participating clinics are compliant. MOH will not hesitate to take action against errant clinics.  This could include recovery of monies claimed by such clinics, suspension or termination of accreditation or participation status, and where appropriate, referral to the appropriate authorities including the Police, for further investigation.

Follow-up:

More clinics under probe for possible cheating (ST, 4 Jul 2016):

The ministry told The Straits Times it has “also referred other clinics to the police for further investigation”. But it would not say if they are dental or general practice (GP) establishments. The possible cheating cases surfaced via regular audits by MOH and a patient’s complaints.

In the case of the two dental clinics, the MOH spokesman said: “While we were auditing the clinics, we also received a patient complaint that Phoenix Dental had submitted claims for procedures which had not been done for the said patient.”

Associate Professor Patrick Tseng, Singapore’s chief dental officer, said: “MOH takes a serious view of fraudulent claims and unlawful practice behaviour, and we will take necessary action if we suspect any such activity.”

The audits have turned up cases of non-compliance, but many are unintentional or administrative errors, such as putting down the wrong date for a procedure. They have also turned up more questionable “errors”, such as:

• Doing a simple procedure but making a claim for a more complex, and hence more expensive, treatment.

• Making claims for procedures that are not eligible for subsidy, by classifying it as a different procedure that is subsidised.

• Making a full claim although the treatment has not been completed.

• Claiming for a procedure that was never done.

The MOH spokesman said the ministry will recover any subsidies paid out through incorrect claims. Last year, Chas paid out $167 million in subsidies to GPs and dental clinics for treating 650,000 Singaporean patients.

1.png
Photo credit: TODAY

#Headline 10: Three arrested for suspected involvement in DHL phone scam (CNA, 15 Jul 2016)

What happened?

A 65-year-old woman had filed the report after she transferred S$50,000 to the alleged scammers. The victim had received a call from an unknown person claiming to be working for DHL, informing her that her parcel contained illegal goods, and was detained by Chinese customs agents. She was threatened her with legal action, and instructed to transfer money to an unknown local bank account so that the authorities will not pursue the matter.

What were the aftermath of their actions?

The three suspects were expected to be charged in Court for the offences of conspiracy to dishonestly receive stolen property.

They face a jail term of up to five years, or a fine, or with both. Police investigations are underway to determine if the three suspects were also involved in other similar scams.

1.png
Photo credit: TODAY

Headline 11: ‘DHL’ parcel scam: 23-year-old suspect arrested (CNA, 19 Jul 2016)

What happened?

A 32-year-old woman lodged a report regarding a call received from an unknown person who claimed to be working for courier company DHL. She was told that she had a parcel containing illegal goods that was detained by Chinese Customs. The call was then transferred to another person whose number was reflected in caller ID as “999”, and he claimed to be from the police.

She was later asked to provide her Internet banking credentials, including the one-time password (OTP) from her Internet banking dongle. She eventually discovered that her i-banking account had been accessed without her knowledge and about S$36,000 had been transferred to an unknown bank account.  

Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect, a 23 year old man –  is believed to be involved in at least five other similar cases in which the victims had suffered losses amounting to a total of about S$90,000.

What was the aftermath of his actions?

The suspect was to be charged in court for dishonestly receiving stolen property. If convicted, he faces up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine or both. 

1.jpg

#Headline 12: ‘Unscrupulous trickster’ who cheated his friend of more than $2 million jailed for 7 years (ST, 21 Jul 2016)

What happened?

Don Brendan Robert, an undischarged bankrupt, was a friend to Mr Alan Lye Cher Kang. He had bluffed the latter that he was the beneficiary of an inheritance from his late father, and that his inheritance money been seized by the Government and was frozen by the police’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

He lied that various processing fees and administrative charges had to be paid in order to release the supposedly frozen funds. Robert asked Mr Lye for help in making the payments for various processing fees and administrative charges. In return, he promised Mr Lye a portion of his inheritance when it was released. 

He cheated the latter friend of nine years out of a total of $2.36 million and spent the money to pay off his debts to loan sharks and fund a lavish lifestyle, including renting a BMV vehicle at $300 a day, and rented a room from a friend in Wak Hassan Drive for $1,200 a month. 

What was the aftermath of his actions?

Robert has not paid Mr Lye or Mr Bay back any money. His sentence was backdated to November 2014, when he was remanded. He could have been jailed for 10 years and fined for each cheating charge.

1.jpg
Photo credit: AsiaOne

# Headline 13: Two women arrested for online love scam (ST, 21 Jul 2016)

What happened?

Two women aged 31 and 40 have been arrested for their suspected involvement in an online love scam after Police had received a report of a case of cheating.  The 41-year-old victim had gotten to know an unidentified man online in May and was led to believe that she was getting into a romantic relationship. She was eventually convinced to transfer close to £43,500 (S$78,000) to an overseas bank account on two occasions before being advised by a friend to lodge a police report.

Follow-up:

Cash amounting to $20,000 was recovered from one of the suspects, police said. Investigations were ongoing when report then.

1.jpg
Photo credit: Forum.sgCafe

#Headline 14: 48-year-old man arrested for suspected employment scam (ST, 22 Jul 2016) / Home Briefs: Man arrested over employment scams (ST, 23 Jul 2016)

What happened?

A 48-year-old man was arrested for his suspected involvement in multiple cases of employment scams. Since late June, police have received reports from victims saying they were cheated of money in such scams after posting their resume on social media platforms to seek jobs. Police said that the suspect contacted the victims to arrange for interviews, where he would then collect money from them as “agent fees”. Using the pretext of preparing a receipt for them, the suspect would then slip away.

What was the aftermath of his actions?

Police said its preliminary investigations indicated that the suspect is believed to be involved in several similar cheating cases. For the offence of cheating, the suspect could face up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine.

 

1.jpg

# Headline 15: 43 being probed for suspected GST fraud (ST, 19 Aug 2016)

What happened?

Forty-three people are being investigated for being involved in a suspected goods and services tax (GST) fraud following a two-day operation by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). 

The seized goods included iPhones and MacBook Air notebooks, as well as SIM cards and business records. The alleged conspiracy involved making fraudulent claims for reimbursement of tax paid on exported goods. 

What were the aftermath of their actions?

Anyone who commits the offence of wilful intent to evade or assist any other person to evade GST faces a penalty of up to three times the amount of tax undercharged and a fine not exceeding $10,000, and/or jail of up to seven years.

IRAS encourages businesses or individuals to immediately disclose any past mistakes, saying that it “will treat such disclosures as mitigating factors when considering action to be taken”. A cash reward based on 15 per cent of the tax recovered, capped at $100,000, would be given to informants if the information or documents provided a lead to a recovery of tax that would have been lost.

1

Photo credit: Voc.fm

#Headline 16: Man gets 10 months’ jail for credit card fraud (ST, 23 Aug 2016)

What happened?

Cheng Liqin, 34 took a credit card he found at his father’s laundry shop and used it to pay for expenses totalling $16,164, mainly on visits to night clubs. He made 19 successful transactions using the misappropriated credit card belonging to Mr Kishin RK, 32, between Nov 16 and 25, 2014.

What was the aftermath of his actions?

Cheng was sentenced to 10 months’ jail after he had pleaded guilty to eight charges, with 13 others taken into consideration. He has returned all the money. 

He could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined for each charge of cheating by personation. For dishonest misappropriation, the maximum penalty is two years’ jail and a fine, and for attempted cheating, five years’ jail and a fine.

15

#Headline 17: 3 men face 300 charges over insider trading  (ST, 26 Aug 2016)

What happened?

Leong Chee Wai, Toh Chew Leong and Simon E Seck Peng have been charged with offences involving “front-running”, a form of insider trading, allegedly committed between 2007 and 2014. Front-running involves a broker trading a stock in his personal account based on advance information that he possesses of pending orders to buy or sell shares of a company.

What were the aftermath of their actions?

These three men are facing a total of more than 300 charges.

Response by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore Police Force’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD):

In March last year, the MAS and the CAD had said that they would jointly investigate market misconduct such as insider trading, whereas previously the two agencies would conduct investigations independent of each other, depending on whether the targeted offence was likely to be a civil penalty or criminal prosecution case.

1.jpg

#Headline 18: Three brides-to-be claim they were cheated of thousands of dollars by a wedding planner, who was recently fired / Ad taken out to inform public that wedding planner fired, planner now under police probe (27 Aug 2016)

What happened?

Mr Sunato Zaidi was sacked on 19 August 2016 after he was accused of cheating his clients. Mr Sunato is under investigation, the police told Straits Times (ST) during the then report. While the company and the police did not say what he is being investigated for, clients of Lagun Sari said they were told by the company that Mr Sunato had allegedly pocketed the deposits of clients.

Response by Lagun Sari (on their FB page):

Dear Lagun Sari customers, 

As published in the newspaper and on our Facebook page, Sunato is no longer an employee of our company and is currently under police investigation. We learnt that Sunato has made many promises and decisions outside the boundaries of his position as a wedding planner. We regret that such an incident has occurred. We want to personally assure you that we are doing everything possible to rectify the situation. We are in the midst of contacting customers in batches and will provide solutions based on a case by case basis. 

All affected customers are reminded to: 

Step 1: Make a police report with all evidence of payments made to Sunato (cash and receipts, bank transfers into his personal account, etc.) 
Step 2: After filing a police report, kindly bring along these documents to the appointment with Lagun Sari:
• Copy of the police report
• Evidence of payments made 

We would also like to reassure all other customers that Lagun Sari will continue to operate as per normal. Our wedding planners are working hard to ensure that all weddings will continue to run smoothly. 

Once again, we are truly sorry for any inconvenience caused. Thank you for your patience and understanding towards Lagun Sari. If you have further questions, you may contact us at 6440 7274 or sales@lagun-sari.com.sg

Responses by affected customers:

From both The New Paper article, and Lagun Sari’s Facebook page, there were positive remarkers, like praises to the management for dealing well with the issue, with affected couples being compensated, or choosing to continue on with Lagun Sari for their wedding plans 🙂

1.jpg

# Headline 19: Couple behind famous Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint fined and jailed 4 weeks for tax evasion (ST, 29 Aug 2016)

What happened?

The husband-and-wife team behind Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint which was sold for $4 million in 2014, were convicted of tax evasion as accounted by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Ha Wai Kay, 64, who is registered as the sole proprietor of Kay Lee, was found guilty of evading $54,917.15 of income taxes for 2010 and 2011. His wife Kong Kuee Chin, 69, was convicted of helping him. 

Click HERE to learn more about IRAS. 

What were the aftermath of their actions?

Under the law, the maximum penalty for tax evasion is four times the amount of tax evaded, and jail terms may also be imposed. Both Ha and Kong were sentenced to four weeks’ jail and each had to pay a penalty of $164,751.45, three times the tax evaded.

1.jpg

#Headline 20: She took $1.5m from firm by forging company cheques (30 Aug 2016)

What happened?

Hired by Alcan Singapore in June 2008 with a monthly pay of about $3,500, Siti Fatimah Hassan – a 46-year-old office administrator, was entrusted with her company’s cheque book. Just three months after she was hired, she began issuing cheques to herself by forging the signatures of either of two authorised signatories. 

She made off with more than $1.5 million over six years, and spent the money on personal expenses – such as property in Malaysia, a BMW car and travel holidays.

What was the aftermath of her actions?

She was jailed for 71/2 years after pleading guilty to 49 out of 226 charges: 46 counts of forgery, one of falsification of accounts, and two of transferring the benefits of criminal conduct.The remaining charges were taken into account in sentencing. 

Siti Fatimah has since paid back $36,625 to her employer. Her savings and fixed deposit accounts – with $30,791 and $465,012 respectively – were seized by police.

#Headline 21 Former ST Marine exec in graft scandal gets 6 months’ jail, $80k fine (ST, 31 Aug 2016)

What happened?

A former executive at shipbuilder ST Marine implicated in one of the largest graft scandals in corporate Singapore, Han Yew Kwang, 59 was the company’s chief operating officer and deputy president. 

ST Marine staff had been using cash bribes to get business since 2000, with the approval of its senior management team. The company is a subsidiary of blue-chip engineering giant ST Engineering. ST Marine’s records showed that at least $24.9 million in kickbacks were paid between 2000 and 2011.

Employees of ST Marine’s customers, mainly overseas companies, would request “commissions” for giving ship-repair contracts and other business to the company. After getting approval from ST Marine’s senior management, an employee would submit petty cash claims for “entertainment expenses”. Cash cheques issued for these claims would be encashed, and the amount given as a kickback.

Han abetted in paying out $1.58 million in bribes between April 2004 and March 2008, by approving such false claims and/or signing the cash cheques for these claims. 

What was the aftermath of his actions?

He is the second of seven former ST Marine senior executives charged in the case to be sentenced. He is the first to be given a jail term, and sentenced to six months’ jail and fined $80,000. Han is out on bail of $200,000, pending an appeal against his sentence. 

He had earlier pleaded guilty to 50 out of 407 charges: one of graft and 49 of falsification of accounts. The remaining 357 charges – one count of corruption and 356 of falsification of accounts – were taken into account in sentencing.

#Headline 22  Couple jailed in US$3.6m money laundering case involving ex-Papua New Guinea PM (ST, 1 Sept 2016)

What happened?

A married couple laundered US$3.6 million which had been meant to set up community colleges in Papua New Guinea – then gave US$784,000 of it to the country’s then Prime Minister.

What were the aftermath of their actions?

Singaporean Lim Ai Wah, 61, was given five years’ jail, while her 68-year-old American husband Thomas Doehrman got five years and 10 months. They were each found guilty on one count of falsification of accounts and five charges of transferring the benefits of criminal conduct.

#Headline 23 Policeman admits taking $35,000 from suspect (ST, 1 Sept 2016)

A police officer has admitted receiving $35,000 in bribes to help a man avoid being charged with taking upskirt videos.

Staff Sergeant Woo Poh Liang, 29, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two corruption charges as well as six unrelated charges of buying illegal 4-D lottery tickets, placing bets with a bookmaker on the 2014 World Cup and acting as a runner for a bookmaker.

#Headline 24 Company director jailed for corruption (ST, 3 Sept 2016)

The director of a company which provided design services for the Singapore Aviation Academy (SAA) was jailed for eight weeks after admitting to 15 counts of corruption which the prosecution argued had brought a public body into disrepute.

Winnie Lee, 43, had submitted false quotations from fake companies with higher prices to ensure her company won each of the tenders with a lower offer price.

The offences occurred over nearly five years involving contracts worth $66,556 paid with public funds and the court was told SAA, the training wing of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), liked her work. 

1.png

Thank you for reading Offbeat Perspective’s article:)

1

Click HERE if you wish to check out our Facebook page for new updates!

1.png

Advertisements

One thought on “20 headlines on “Singaporean money cheaters” in 2016

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s