SINGAPORE - Between September 2013 and May 2014, Tan Sin Long ran a scam in which he tried to dupe the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) into disbursing public funds under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme.
He started off by claiming his mother and sister were working for him at CXL Holdings, a consultation and investment firm he owned. The firm had no employees at the time.
The claims were approved and the Iras disbursed a total of $24,000 in January 2014.
The 39-year-old then continued the scam, roping in his wife and friends, among others.
On Thursday (March 1), Tan admitted in court to being the prime mover of a ruse which tried to dupe the Iras into disbursing $745,200 of public funds. The PIC scheme granted cash payouts and bonuses to businesses to spur productivity.
To qualify for PIC payouts, firms must already have at least three local employees working for them and must also incur business expenditures.
Tan's scam resulted in the Iras disbursing $96,600 in cash payouts and bonuses. It did not disburse the remaining $648,600.
On Thursday, the Singaporean pleaded guilty to two counts each of giving false information to the Comptroller of Income Tax and assisting others to obtain cash payouts by giving fraudulent information on their application forms.
He also admitted to one count of assisting a man to obtain a cash payout by preparing a false invoice. Eleven other similar charges will be considered during sentencing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew told District Judge Prem Raj that after Tan was successful with his first claim, he actively approached and recruited individuals to make similar bogus PIC claims.
DPP Chew said: "The accused proposed to would-be participants that they would split the monies if the claims were successful - each participant would receive a cut, usually between $5,000 and $10,000, with the remainder going to the accused."
He gave similar false information in March 2014 and the Iras was duped into disbursing $36,600 to CXL Holdings.
By registering another company known as YJP Holdings as a sole proprietorship belonging to his wife, Tan duped the Iras yet again by giving false information about the company's workers in April 2014. The Iras later disbursed $36,000 to YJP Holdings.
Tan also told an acquaintance, Mr Richard Chan Kum Weng, about the PIC scheme and they agreed that Mr Chan would submit a fraudulent cash payout application form to try to obtain money from the Iras. Tan gave him a blank form and taught him how to fill it.
Mr Chan, who is the sole proprietor of Rong Metal Services which deals with rod metal, lied on the document by entering the names of his brother and two drinking buddies as his employees even though they were not working for him.
On March 31, 2014, Tan created a false invoice as a supporting document to help Mr Chan with his claim.
The Iras would have disbursed $51,000 if it had approved this application. As part of his deal with Tan, Mr Chan would have retained at least $10,000.
However, the application was rejected and no monies were disbursed as the Iras managed to detect the fraudulent claim.
Tan, who is represented by lawyer S.S. Dhillon, has made a restitution of $600 to the Iras. He was offered bail of $30,000 and will be back in court on April 17.