Businessman jailed 32 months for inflating accounts, cheating bank

Chew Soo Chun was sentenced to 32 months in jail and fined $10,000 on Friday for inflating accounts and cheating a bank of more than $2 million in loans. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE
Chew Soo Chun was sentenced to 32 months in jail and fined $10,000 on Friday for inflating accounts and cheating a bank of more than $2 million in loans. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

SINGAPORE - The former chief executive of a ship equipment supplier was sentenced to 32 months in jail and fined $10,000 on Friday for inflating its accounts and cheating a bank of more than $2 million in loans.

Chew Soo Chun recorded fictitious transactions in Chew Yak Mong-Synerpac's books, overstating its sales revenue and gross profits for the financial periods between late 2005 and late 2006 by as much as 65 per cent. The 45-year-old also used fake documents to secure some $2.6 million in loans from OCBC bank.

But the offences were uncovered by accountants after the firm, which was facing money problems, handed over management of its assets in 2007.

Chew had earlier pleaded guilty to 10 of 149 charges against him, with the rest taken into consideration on Friday.

These comprised falsifying accounts, cheating, using forged documents and two offences under the Companies Act.

Chew Yak Mon-Synerpac was registered here in 1997 as a limited private company, and went public in June 2005. It was listed in the Australian stock exchange two months later, but was delisted in Feb 2007.

The court heard Chew had made the decision to list the firm in Australia.

Bogus sales invoices were generated to create the impression of high sales turnover, so the firm could boost investor confidence and OCBC would continue to lend it money.

More than $930,000 of the bank's money has not been returned.

Chew will begin his sentence on March 2, after District Judge Soh Tze Bian granted his request to celebrate Chinese New Year first.

The maximum penalty for falsifying accounts is 10 years in jail and a fine.

pohian@sph.com.sg