Jailed 14 months for cheating his supervisor

A safety coordinator conned his supervisor into believing that he could get him jobs at a higher salary and to enter into a joint venture with him to provide two safety coordinators to a shipyard.

Boopalan Vengdasalam, 46, dishonestly induced the victim to pay him between $500 and $8,000 over a month-long period as commission, administration fees, fees for course certification and his share in the joint venture.

He was sentenced to 14 months in jail yesterday after admitting to four counts of cheating Mr Eric Ng Peng Hao, a safety officer for Shimizu Corporation, of $24,500 between late May and June 25 this year.

Four other similar charges involving a total of $7,000 were taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Alexander Woon told the court that Boopalan started working under the supervision of the victim in December last year. In late May, he told Mr Ng that he had a friend, named Kelvin, who worked for an oil and gas company. He said Kelvin's company was looking for safety officers and that the job would pay $8,000 a month plus overtime.

Boopalan asked Mr Ng for $5,000 to pay Kelvin's commission to secure the job . The victim handed the sum to Boopalan on May 28.

At around the same time, Boopalan told the victim that a shipyard was looking for someone to fill the position of "working at height assessor with scaffold supervisor''.

He lied that the job would pay $6,000 and that he could work in tandem with the safety officer job previously proposed by him. He said a $5,000 administrative fee was needed and Mr Ng transferred the amount to Boopalan's bank account on May 30.

On June 13, he told the victim Kelvin was looking for two safety coordinators. He suggested that they join forces to provide the two safety coordinators. Boopalan further said he had found two men to whom they could subcontract the jobs. Mr Ng gave $8,000 cash to Boopalan as his contribution.

On June 25, the victim was cheated of another $6,500 to pay for the two men to be certified.

Mr Ng lodged a police report on June 28 that he had been cheated.

No restitution has been made.

Boopalan, who has convictions for drug-related offences and attempted robbery, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2015, with the headline 'Jailed 14 months for cheating his supervisor'. Print Edition | Subscribe