2 years and 2 months' jail for ex-firm director who cheated 5 banks of over $10m

So Seow Tiong's offences involved using fraudulent documents to apply for trade financing from five banks between 2007 and 2011.
So Seow Tiong's offences involved using fraudulent documents to apply for trade financing from five banks between 2007 and 2011.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A director of a now-dissolved company who duped five banks into disbursing more than $10 million for transactions that never took place was on Thursday (Sept 16) sentenced to two years and two months' jail.

On Tuesday, So Seow Tiong, 61, had pleaded guilty to 25 cheating charges.

Another 50 similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

The Singaporean's offences involved using fraudulent documents to apply for trade financing from five banks between 2007 and 2011.

The banks are: Chang Hwa Commercial Bank, UOB, OCBC Bank, Maybank and ABN Amro Bank.

Before handing down the sentence on Thursday, Senior District Judge Bala Reddy noted that the scam was perpetrated over several years and that a deterrent sentence was warranted to dissuade others from committing similar crimes.

At the time of the offences, So was the director of electronics manufacturing company SPE Technology (Singapore) and held a 38 per cent shareholding stake in it. The company was dissolved on Jan 24, 2015.

He also managed FSL Business Enterprise (Singapore), a company which sold electronic components, even though he was not its director.

So had authority over the use of FSL's funds and would give instructions to its then director, Ms Quek Swee Wah, who had no say in the company's business.

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority records show that FSL has since ceased business.

Between March 27, 2007, and Jan 11, 2011, So instructed FSL to prepare 75 invoices and corresponding delivery orders to reflect SPE Technology's purported purchases of various items from it.

He also took steps to make the documents look authentic, by acts such as instructing Ms Quek to sign them and ensuring that the invoices were stamped.

So submitted the fraudulent documents to the banks to apply for trade financing on 75 occasions.

After FSL received the funds from the banks, So got the company to transfer the money to SPE Technology.

He then made SPE Technology's accounting records falsely reflect that the supposed purchases had been cancelled.

So also got Ms Quek to sign on documents purportedly issued by FSL stating that the "goods" had been supposedly returned to it.

So's offences were uncovered after the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) received a complaint on Aug 1, 2012, from SPE Technology's liquidators about the company obtaining trade financing from banks using fictitious purchases.

The monies disbursed by the banks were repaid before the CAD commenced investigations, the court heard.

Ms Quek was fined $5,000 last year over her involvement in So's offences.

So's bail was set at $30,000 on Thursday. He was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on Sept 28 to begin serving his sentence.

For each charge of cheating and dishonestly inducing another person to deliver property, offenders can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.