A car dealership employee, who was hauled to court last year to face a charge of abetment to cheat, yesterday had his charge amended to conspiring to commit criminal breach of trust.
Koh Chek Seng, 33, had worked for Volks Auto, which shut down after allegedly collecting a few million dollars from more than 100 buyers without delivering the cars.
He is now alleged to have conspired with Volks Auto owner Alvin Loo Mun Yu and another man, Jason Koh Chi Kang, to misappropriate over $4.6 million in deposits between July and October 2014.
Koh was offered bail of $1 million, but he told the court he could not raise the amount. The case will be heard again on Jan 20.
Volks Auto made the news in 2014, after disgruntled customers gathered outside the parallel importer's premises in MacPherson Road to look for Loo. Some also contacted the media to highlight their plight.
Parallel importers, such as Volks Auto, buy cars from dealers abroad and sell them here for a profit, typically at prices lower than those charged by authorised dealers. Drawn by advertised prices about $10,000 lower than prevailing rates, the affected customers said they each paid $20,000 to $30,000 in downpayments to Volks Auto.
Police later confirmed that Loo left Singapore in December 2014, before customers discovered his business was closed. If convicted of the criminal breach of trust charge, Koh faces life imprisonment or jail of up to 20 years and a fine.