A criminal syndicate targeting the SkillsFuture scheme made nearly $40 million of fraudulent claims between April and November.
The syndicate comprising 5 Singaporeans have been charged in court in what has been described as the biggest case. to date, of a public institution being defrauded.
Bogus Skillsfuture claims
According to a Dec 19 press release by SkillsFutureSG (SSG), preliminary police investigation revealed that the criminal syndicate behind these fraudulent claims had operated an organised network that utilised nine business entities, comprising employer companies and training providers, to submit the fraudulent claims.
SSG detected anomalies in claims for training grants at the end of October 2017. It immediately suspended all payments of grants and reported the case to the Police.
The police has since seized substantial cash and frozen a number of bank accounts involved in the case. Police investigations are on-going.
Wide range of charges
The charges for the five behind the syndicate include forging documents to obtain training subsidies and concealing gains from criminal conduct via gold.
They also attempted to destroy evidence of their exchanges and dealings, by throwing away mobile phones, erasing Whatsapp history and call logs.
Mastermind Ng Cheng Kwee, 41, was charged on Dec 19 with three counts of trying to pervert the course of justice.
In Nov.1 this year, he conspired with fellow syndicate member Li Lai Leng and others to conceal the proceeds of crime.
Cash and Gold
According to Lianhe Zaobao, Li instructed Lee Chi Wai, also one of the five, to remove about S$6.7 million in cash and a total value of about 11 kg of gold worth up to S$600,000, which was hidden in safe deposit box located at Rivervale Cresent, Sengkang.
According to The Straits Times, S$600,000 in cash involved in this case was also concealed in the vicinity of Greenleaf View near Holland Road.
Ng, now remanded at Central Police Division, will be back in court after Christmas, on Dec 26.
SSG said it has taken immediate actions to tighten its processes, which include implementing fraud analytics, while conducting a comprehensive review of the system.
Should you suspect or know any individuals or organisations that might be misusing SkillsFuture claims, you can reach out to SSG at https://portal.ssg-wsg.gov.sg/feedback.
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