The desire for money can be a dangerous thing sometimes, like this businessman who is convicted of cheating over $11.7 million from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
Here’s what happened.
Man Pleads Guilty to Numerous Charges
Lim Chit Foo, a 38-year-old businessman, was found guilty of 20 cheating charges on 12 Jan. There are an astounding 411 other charges that will be taken into account for his misdeed. He will be sentenced on 26 Jan.
This is not his first sentencing; he was sentenced in Jan 2019 to 40 months of jail for obstruction of justice in getting employees to give false information to the police.
But when did this all begin, and how did it happen?
Hatching a Deliberate Plan
As the court heard, Lim gathered two accomplices—Wang Jiao, 39, and Li Dan, 38. Together, they created over 200 shell companies and got people to be nominee directors of these companies by paying them.
That’s quite a lot of companies.
Fictitious expenses that were supposedly “incurred” by the companies were churned out via software and Web-based system purchases. But what for, you may ask?
As it turns out, the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme gives cash payouts and allowances to suitable companies. This scheme is put into place to increase productivity in the industry. Thus, making false claims paved the way to pocket money.
So the process starts.
In one example, the two accomplices got to know Chua Phoi Yong, telling him that they needed his help in setting up companies for them. With the promise of a portion of profits, Chua gave the green light and gave his Singpass ID for the setting up of the company.
Chua opened a bank account under his name and was appointed the director of G&G Prestige sometime between 28 Oct 2015, and 25 May 2016. He was made to pre-sign blank cheques and give them to Li. This way, Li could take the money from the account.
IRAS approved the claims, giving out $45,000 to the account.
Going on a profitable cycle, the trio repeated this process until a whopping $11,793,000 was claimed in PIC payouts.
What a spree.
Eventually, as with all wrongdoings, their operations were halted; they were reported by a whistleblower.
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Huge Losses in Funds
Deputy Public Prosecutor Eric Hu mentioned to the court that only a small portion of the funds given out have been recovered ($455,000). As a result, there is a total loss of $11.8 million, which are taxpayers’ money.
For Lim, he could be jailed up to 10 years and fined for each count of abetment by conspiracy.
Lesson learnt: Don’t test the system.
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