GST fraudster jailed 15 months and fined $1.2m

Businessman Chia Puay Yeoh was jailed for 15 months on Thursday, July 10, 2014. for cooking his books to claim Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds he was not entitled to.  -- ST PHOTO
Businessman Chia Puay Yeoh was jailed for 15 months on Thursday, July 10, 2014. for cooking his books to claim Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds he was not entitled to.  -- ST PHOTO

SINGAPORE - A businessman who cooked the books to claim Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds he was not entitled to was jailed for 15 months on Thursday

Chia Puay Yeoh was also ordered to pay a penalty of just over $1.2 million - equivalent to three times the tax he was undercharged.

The 50-year-old, who faced 122 charges involving around $900,000, had pleaded guilty to 45 counts of creating false entries in GST returns to evade tax amounting to more than $400,000.

This was done through four companies he was involved in and another six run by other people, for various accounting periods between 2005 and 2007.

The court heard that Chia was facing financial difficulties at the time, and that he would share his modus operandi with friends - and even help them make their own fraudulent claims.

He would inflate or fabricate returns filed, largely based on the amount in refunds that was desired.

In one instance, Chia helped a company director to make the false declarations, hoping he would use the money to invest in a business he was running in East Timor.

However, Chia stopped helping him when the investment was not made as promised. He eventually received $30,000 from his friend but the money was lost after the overseas business failed.

In another instance, he falsified documents to support fraudulent declarations that had already been made by a friend.

On top of a penalty amounting to three times the tax undercharged, those convicted of evading or helping others to evade tax, by filing false GST returns, face a jail term of up to seven years and up to $10,000 in fines on each charge.