Dentist admits to $389k Medisave scam

Daniel Liew Yaoxiang duped the CPF Board into dispensing funds from patients' Medisave accounts. He pleaded guilty yesterday to 28 cheating charges and two counts of forgery. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Daniel Liew Yaoxiang duped the CPF Board into dispensing funds from patients' Medisave accounts. He pleaded guilty yesterday to 28 cheating charges and two counts of forgery. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A dentist took part in a bogus claims scam that reaped $388,700 from the Medisave accounts of 13 patients.The fraud, which involved duping the Central Provident Fund Board into dispensing the funds, left most of the patients with no money in their accounts, a district court heard yesterday.

Daniel Liew Yaoxiang, who used to work for The Smile Division Dental Group, pleaded guilty to 28 cheating charges and two counts of forgery. A further 250 counts for similar offences will be considered during sentencing.

Liew, who committed the offences between 2011 and 2014, was the second person to be convicted for taking part in the scam. Steven Ang Kiam Hau, 44, the dentist who had devised the scheme, was jailed for 2½ years on Aug 10 last year.

The cases involving their alleged accomplices - dentist Cecil Goh Chin Chye, 48, the dental group's managing director, and Yeo Meow Koon, 47, the clinic's practice manager - are pending.

Liew, 37, joined The Smile Division Dental Group as an associate dentist in 2011.

He resigned three years later and the Singapore Dental Council website shows that he is now working at a clinic in Aljunied.

Ang hatched the plan in 2009 and implemented it at a Lucky Plaza clinic where he worked.

 

According to earlier Straits Times reports, he would offer less well-off patients lower rates for day procedures than those charged by other clinics.

He would certify that the procedures were performed on the patients on multiple dates, even though they were all done on a single day or, at most, two days.

This was to circumvent the daily withdrawal limits set by the Ministry of Health and receive multiple claim amounts from the patients' Medisave accounts.

Court papers stated Goh found out about Ang's ruse and decided to offer the scheme to other patients.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Guan Siew said Liew became aware of the scheme and participated in it.

The court heard that from the fees collected from each patient, the company would deduct and retain the costs for items such as anaesthesia, medication and laboratory fees. Liew would receive 50 per cent of the remainder as his profit.

Senior Counsel Sant Singh, who represents Liew, told the court: "Treatment was actually provided for the patients... This was not a case where fictitious amounts were being claimed for services that were not performed."

Liew made restitution of more than $470,000 on Dec 21, 2017. This amount was made up of the principal sum of $388,700 plus an interest of 4 per cent per annum amounting to more than $81,000.

SC Singh pleaded for his client to be sentenced to 15 months' jail.

He also said Liew was a former national swimmer who represented Singapore at events, including the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Liew is out on bail of $600,000 and is expected to be sentenced on May 3.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2019, with the headline 'Dentist admits to $389k Medisave scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe