SINGAPORE: A woman who created fake invoices in order to cheat two companies out of S$25 million over two years was on Thursday (Jun 28) sentenced to 10 years' jail.
Choy Peiyi, 35, was the director of Vanguard Project Management, a renovation and interior design firm.
Between November 2016 and March 2017, she doctored 23 invoices from various unwitting companies including Fish & Co Restaurants and Evershine Services, complete with ink stamps.
She then submitted these fake invoices - supposedly for renovation works at the various companies - to two factoring agencies, Arc Trade Finance Fund and Capital Springboard, under a receivables purchase agreement.
Factoring agencies buy "receivables" - in this case the fake invoices or debts - from a third-party company and disburse the amounts needed to repay the debts. The third-party company then repays the amounts with interest within six months.
SHE USED FAKE INVOICES TO GET LARGE SUMS OF MONEY
However, those debts did not exist. In order to get new sums of money to repay her old loans within six months, Choy perpetuated a pattern of creating fake invoices.
Deceived into believing those invoices were real, Arc and Capital Springboard disbursed a total of about S$25 million to Choy over two years, incurring S$6.8 million in losses.
Choy used about S$1.3 million to S$1.4 million to pay off her businesses' bad debts and for operating expenses.
The ploy was discovered while Capital Springboard was assessing its accounts with Choy.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Leong Weng Tat called for a jail sentence of 11 years to be imposed, saying that general deterrence was warranted and that the accused was "clearly motivated by self-interest".
He noted that Choy spent the money on gambling at Marina Bay Sands, an overseas trip and buying a BMW, among other things.
The defence, however, asked for not more than eight years, saying that Choy had repaid S$18.2 million of the S$25 million even before she was arrested.
In response, the prosecutor said that this repayment was merely part of the business agreement.
Choy faced 235 charges of cheating and two money-laundering charges.
She asked for a two-week deferment of her sentence in order to settle her business and personal matters.
She is out on bail of S$300,000.