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Singapore

11 people charged over defrauding Jobs Support Scheme, 2 other COVID-19 government grants

11 people charged over defrauding Jobs Support Scheme, 2 other COVID-19 government grants

File photo of a person reviewing an application form. (Photo: iStock)

SINGAPORE: Eleven people were charged in court on Thursday (May 5) for allegedly attempting to defraud government financial support schemes. 

The individuals, aged between 28 and 65, allegedly tried to obtain payouts under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), said the police in a news release.

Three of them also face similar charges in connection with the COVID-19 Support Grant and the Temporary Relief Fund.

Gay Kah Leong and Tan Zhong Lin from Deidrea of Kings Spa SG were charged with allegedly attempting to cheat the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) into disbursing a JSS payout of about S$50,000. 

This was in respect of 36 people who did not perform work or receive salaries as declared, said the police. 

The duo, along with seven other individuals, were also charged with alleged involvement in falsifying the employment contracts and payslips submitted to IRAS, as well as furnishing false information.

Gay and two others were additionally charged with allegedly cheating or attempting to cheat the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) into disbursing funds under the COVID-19 Support Grant and Temporary Relief Fund when they did not suffer job or income loss due to the pandemic.

The police also said Teoh Wong Har of TK Manufacturing and Wholesale Centre and Wong Lai Kook of Double Ace Associates were charged with allegedly attempting to cheat IRAS into disbursing JSS payouts in respect of individuals who were either not employed or who did not perform the work as declared. 

The payouts would have amounted to about S$15,000.

The three financial support schemes were launched by the Government during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The JSS, administered by IRAS, offered wage support to employers so they could retain their local employees. 

To ensure that JSS payouts were fairly and correctly disbursed, the police said IRAS conducted reviews of higher risk cases using data analytics and information provided by the public. It then adjusted or denied JSS payouts to employers who were unable to substantiate their eligibility.

Egregious cases, such as those suspected of submitting false documents to IRAS, would be referred to the police. 

The COVID-19 Support Grant and the Temporary Relief Fund administered by MSF offered financial support to Singaporeans who suffered job loss or income loss.

Those found guilty of cheating face up to 10 years in jail and are liable to a fine, while those found guilty of falsification of accounts may be imprisoned for up to 10 years, fined, or both. 

Those who are found to have furnished false information may be jailed up to three years, fined, or both. 

The police said they take a serious stance against the abuse of government grants, especially where this involves the “diversion of resources from those in genuine need of assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic”. 

Offenders will be dealt with severely in accordance with the law, they added. 
 

Source: CNA/zl

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