SINGAPORE - A lawyer was among the 14 people charged on Friday with making false Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) claims.
The 10 men and four women registered sole proprietors, partnerships or companies and used these businesses to make false claims amounting to $334,464 between 2013 and 2014.
Lawyer Kangatharan Ramoo Kandavellu, 55, who owns Kanga & Co, is accused of making a false claim of $24,606 for the year of assessment 2015 for three employees when he was not entitled to. The amount was not disbursed in his case.
All 14 cases have been adjourned to dates in March.
Investigations by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) showed that the PIC claims were linked to magician S. Chandran, 35, who was charged last month for helping 49 claimants to fraudulently obtain PIC cash payouts and PIC bonuses.
An Iras statement said it will take appropriate legal action against the claimants based on the facts and circumstances of each case. This may include prosecution or other enforcement actions such as issuance of warning letters.
The PIC scheme was introduced to encourage productivity and innovation activities in Singapore. It is meant for businesses which have made genuine investments to enhance productivity and innovation.
But there have been instances where claimants who have neither incurred qualifying expenditure nor made actual investment to enhance productivity and innovation abusing the scheme by entering into artificial arrangements with third parties such as vendors to make false PIC claims.
Typically in such scenarios, claimants will enter into artificial arrangements with vendors to give the impression that they had incurred the expenditures for which their PIC claims are based.
They may also submit the names and particulars of persons who are not their employees to Iras that they have met the PIC scheme's condition of employing three local employees.
Iras says it takes a serious view of any attempt by claimants, vendors or promoters toabuse the PIC scheme and defraud the Government.
"In particular, Iras will take stern action against promoters who facilitate offences committed against the PIC schemes,'' it says.
Offenders can be penalised up to four times the amount of PIC cash payout and PIC bonus fraudulently obtained, and fined up to $50,000 or jailed for up to five years.