64-year-old businesswoman who cheated WDA $17,500 jailed six weeks

Tan Woon Chin, 64, pleaded guilty to three charges of cheating.
Tan Woon Chin, 64, pleaded guilty to three charges of cheating.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A 64-year-old businesswoman who made false claims to the Workforce Development Agency (WDA), cheating it of $17,522 from its Skills Development Fund, was on Thursday jailed for six weeks.

Tan Woon Chin, who owned Tamaris Hairdressing and Beauty School, pleaded guilty to three charges of cheating.

She also admitted to five counts of cheating, which were taken into consideration during sentencing.

The Skills Development Fund encourages employers to send their workers for courses, by giving out grants for staff training.

Both employers and companies which conduct courses are eligible for grants.

But companies which conduct courses can only make a claim to the WDA after they have received the amount which an employer is supposed to have paid for a course an employee attended.

Between Dec 2009 and July 2010, Tan made eight false declarations to the WDA that a salon and two spas had already paid her company the fees for massage or beauty courses, which her company had conducted.

But this was not true, as Tan had refunded the salon and spas for the amount they had paid, in the period between making her claim and getting the WDA grant.

In a media statement, the WDA said it conducts regular audits on training providers and companies.

The agency added that it takes a serious view of abuses of its funding schemes.

Tan could have been jailed for three years and fined on each cheating charge.