Ex-researcher jailed 28 months for forgery

Australian Peng Kun, who is a Singapore permanent resident, admitted to 21 of 132 charges of forgery for the purpose of cheating and was jailed for 28 months on Monday.
Australian Peng Kun, who is a Singapore permanent resident, admitted to 21 of 132 charges of forgery for the purpose of cheating and was jailed for 28 months on Monday.PHOTO: ST GRAPHIC

SINGAPORE - A man with a doctorate in cryptology, who forged documents to obtain credit cards and credit facilities for fictitious persons he created, was jailed for 28 months on Monday.

Australian Peng Kun, a Singapore permanent resident, fleeced financial institutions of $67,664 over a five-month period last year when he was unemployed.

Before he decided to cheat financial institutions around March last year, the 40-year-old was a previously a researcher with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) for six years .

Peng had admitted to 21 of 132 charges of forgery for the purpose of cheating.

The court heard that he forged documents such as Central Providend Fund contribution statements and identity cards.

He created fictitious individuals by photo-shopping photos he downloaded from the Internet onto his NRIC, and made the necessary amendments to his NRIC to pass off the fake identity cards as belonging to fictitious persons.

He also forged documents for himself to dupe the financial institutions into providing him with credit cards and credit facilities under his own name.

Once the credit cards and credit facilities were approved, Peng used the money to pay for flight tickets, restaurant bills and also jewellery. He also transferred money to his personal and his wife's bank accounts. He has made partial restitution of $15,000.

The court heard he made online applications to banks such as United Overseas Bank, Standard Chartered, ANZ and American Express.

He submitted supporting documents purportedly showing he was gainfully employed as a scientist at A*Star , a doctor or a National University of Singapore associate professor, which he knew to be false.

His lawyer Desmond Tan said in mitigation that Peng, who is married with a one-year-old son, studied for his PhD in Australia on a scholarship.

He became a permanent resident in Australia in 2004, and a citizen three years later. He was offered a job with A*Star in 2007, and worked until November 2013 when his contract was not renewed.

Peng could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.

elena@sph.com.sg