Ex-IT firm boss jailed 18 weeks and fined $184k over fraudulent GST claims

SINGAPORE - A former manager of an IT equipment supplier who made fraudulent Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund claims for $116,000 was jailed for 18 weeks on Monday.

Samuel Sim Choon Hock, 34, was also ordered to pay a penalty of nearly $184,000 - three times the amount involved in eight charges proceeded against him. Some 16 similar charges were taken into consideration.

A district court heard that between Feb 2006 and 2008, Sim inflated the input tax claims and understated output tax on sales in the GST returns of Netlink Alliance, which is no longer in business.

These declarations were made based on the amount of refunds Sim wanted to obtain, and without any documents to back them up.

During investigations, Sim initially claimed he had misplaced Netlink's documents for the relevant accounting periods and suddenly asked how he could de-register the firm from GST, as it had ceased business operations.

He later admitted he had made the declarations to fraudulently obtain refunds from the taxman, and had used the proceeds for personal and family expenses.

On top of a penalty amounting to three times the tax undercharged, those convicted of intentionally evading or helping others to evade tax by filing false GST returns can be jailed for up to seven years and fined up to $10,000 on each charge.

The biggest GST fraud case to date involved almost $5.7 million in undercharged tax. In August 2010, businessman Mahesh Sukhram Daswani, then 43, was jailed for 54 months and ordered to pay a penalty of almost $17.1 million.