SINGAPORE - A former clinic manager, who helped an eye doctor hide his earnings of nearly $450,000, was fined a total of $40,000 on Monday (May 16) for abetment to commit misappropriation and falsification of accounts.
Felix Huang Keming, 62, was the manager of a sole proprietorship known as The Lasik Surgery Clinic (LSC) when he conspired with Dr Marc Tay Tze-Hsin in 2005 to dishonestly misappropriate $474,124 payable by the consultant ophthalmologist to Pacific Healthcare Specialist Services (PHSS) in 2005.
Huang, who is now semi-retired, also admitted to two of nine charges of instigating clinic staff Lee U-Chyn to make false entries in LSC's chequebook register by recording the cheques of $79,000 and $66,775 as being paid to a fictitious entity known as US Imaging Consultancy which Huang knew to be false.
Dr Tay, who was suspended recently from practice for three months, was fined $30,000 in 2014 on three charges of misappropriating a total of $204,325, and another $2,000 for breaching the Companies Act.
As a consultant of PHSS, the 55-year-old former national swimmer was allowed to provide healthcare services through third party providers provided the work was done for and on behalf of PHSS and all revenue generated belonged to and were paid to PHSS.
He also owed fiduciary duties to PHSS as a director of the company.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue said Dr Tay was invited and accepted Huang's invitation in 2005 to become a visiting consultant of LSC.
Over time, there was an exponential increase in demand for Dr Tay's services at LSC, which led to a corresponding increase in revenue from Lasik surgeries he performed.
Investigation showed that from December 2005 to December 2006, Huang made cash payments totalling $474,123 to Dr Tay on 11 occasions.
Further investigation showed that Haung and Dr Tay had entered into a secret agreement to cap the fees payable by LSC to PHSS, with the balance LSC revenue paid to Dr Tay in cash.
Both had agreed to conceal the secret agreement and the cash payments from PHSS so as to enable Dr Tay to dishonestly misappropriate the money to his own use. Dr Tay has made full restitution to PHSS.
To hide the fact that cheque payments were made to Dr Tay, Huang instructed Ms Lee to record the cheques as being paid to a fictitious entity known as US Imaging Consultancy.
Huang's lawyer Abraham Vergis said his client did not profit from the acts and had the case hanging over his head for eight years.
He said Huang, who suffers from various health conditions, has been contributing significantly to charitable works and the community in general.
"Through his homegrown company, Singapore Medical Group (SMG), he has provided much needed help to the community through its corporate social responsibility schemes,'' he said. SMG is LSC's parent company.
Huang could have been jailed for up to two years and fined for abetment of dishonest misappropriation, and up to seven years and fined for falsifying accounts.