A SINGAPORE permanent resident from China was yesterday fined $72,000 for his part in a conspiracy to forge certificates of a host of schools, including the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) and Murdoch University in Australia.
Student agent Wang Hongtian, 28, who had earned $5,000 to $8,000 from the sale of more than 10 fake certificates, had impugned Singapore's education system through a pre-meditated conspiracy, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Vadi PVSS.
Defence lawyer Ravinderpal Singh however argued that the married Wang was remorseful over his actions and was supporting his elderly and ill mother.
He urged the court to take into consideration that his client had already spent some 11 to 14 days in custody during investigations.
Out of 27 charges, Wang admitted his guilt to nine counts of engaging in a conspiracy to forge certificates with compatriots Xu Changqing, 29, and Xu Rui, 26, along with unidentified persons in China.
Xu Changqing, also a Singapore permanent resident, and Xu Rui - who are unrelated - have already been fined $12,000 and $6,000 respectively.
The conspirators were caught after Xu Changqing's girlfriend from China, He Lingting, was reported by the Council for Private Education for selling forged university certificates online.
After her arrest on Jan 10, the 21-year-old, who was fined $5,000, implicated her boyfriend and the other two men. Three days later, Wang was arrested and 27 forged documents seized from him.
Sometime last year, Wang got to know, through the Internet, unknown persons in China from whom he obtained the forged certificates.
He then conspired to supply the documents to the two Xus, who would then sell them to customers.
Wang, who paid about $1,000 for each document, would provide details of the certificates needed, and the Chinese forgers would mail the documents to him in Singapore.
Wang, who could have been jailed for up to four years and/or fined on each charge, would then supply them for $1,500 to $2,000.