Defunct private school ex-manager fined $16K for failing to keep proper records

A former director and manager of a private school which closed suddenly leaving 300 students stranded was fined a total of $16,000 on Thursday.

Jeremy Low Chia Liang, 32, then manager of the School of Applied Studies (SAS) in Park Mall, admitted failing to ensure that proper records, including records containing information on the administration of courses offered by SAS, were kept between December 2009 and October 2010.

He also admitted to failing to refund course fees totalling $103,191 to five students by Jan 7, 2011 for a degree course that did not start. A third charge of recklessly making a false statement to the Council for Private Education (CPE) was taken into consideration in sentencing.

The court heard that on Oct 18, 2010, CPE received an anonymous call that SAS had closed for "renovations" until Nov 1, 2010.Two days later, CPE received an e-mail from Low stating that SAS was facing financial difficulties and sought help to transfer its students to other private education institutions.

Low was asked to furnish information on its existing students and the course they were enrolled in, Investigation showed that there were numerous material discrepancies in his returns. He could have been fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to a year on each of the two proceeded charges.