15 years' jail for man whose offences caused 3 banks, firm to suffer more than $12m in losses

SINGAPORE - The main director of several companies dealing with cars caused more than $12 million in losses to three banks and a wholesale trading firm after he duped them into handing over loans.

Ho Yik Fuh also roped in a director of another firm, Yeo Kee Siah, when he committed some of his offences.

Yeo was responsible for causing more than $1.8 million in losses from the total amount lost.

Following a trial, the two men were convicted of offences including multiple counts of cheating and were both given jail sentences on Tuesday.

Ho, 57, was sentenced to 15 years' jail while Yeo, 61, was ordered to spend three years and four months behind bars.

Ho was director at the following firms: Frankel Motor, Frankel Leasing and Supreme Motor. Together, these three firms were known as the Frankel group of companies.

A search with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) revealed that he is still a director and shareholder at Frankel Motor, which is currently in liquidation.

At the time of the offences, Yeo was a director of a company called Blue Motor Works.

An Acra search revealed that he is no longer a director at any local company.

In his submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi said that in 2006 and 2007, Ho duped OCBC Bank, the Bank of East Asia and VTB Bank into giving him financing.

He did this through methods including one called "double financing", that is, obtaining financing twice for the same goods.

To perpetuate this fraud, Ho roped in Yeo to help him by issuing documents to facilitate matters, including the double financing.

Ho, a car dealer, then entered into an arrangement with Yeo, a car importer, for the supply of cars.

The pair had a consignment-like arrangement where Yeo would physically place cars with Frankel Motor, with the latter at liberty to sell the cars to buyers, without first paying Yeo for them.

After the cars were sold, Yeo would register the cars to the buyers.

Yeo would then issue invoices and delivery notes.

Yeo was ordered to spend three years and four months behind bars. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

The DPP said: "The evidence shows that numerous sets of these invoices and delivery notes, with false dates on them...(gave) the impression that there were deliveries of specified cars to the Frankel group of companies when in fact there were none on those dates."

Unaware that these dates were false, the banks were duped into believing that the transactions were legitimate, and disbursed loans to the Frankel group of companies.

The three banks had received no restitution for their losses, the court heard.

Separately, Ho also targeted a firm called Wirana Worldwide in 2007 and duped it into giving unsecured loans.

On Tuesday, the court heard that both Ho and Yeo intend to appeal against their convictions and sentences.

Ho's bail was set at $500,000 while Yeo was offered bail of $200,000.

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