Dentist jailed 2 years for role in $388,700 Medisave scam

Daniel Liew Yaoxiang, a former national swimmer, pleaded guilty last month to 28 cheating charges and two counts of forgery.
Daniel Liew Yaoxiang, a former national swimmer, pleaded guilty last month to 28 cheating charges and two counts of forgery. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A dentist abused his position and duped the Central Provident Fund Board into disbursing $388,700 from patients' Medisave accounts.

The bogus claims scam left most of the 13 patients affected with no money in their accounts.

Daniel Liew Yaoxiang, 38, formerly from The Smile Division Dental Group, was sentenced to two years' jail on Friday (May 3).

The former national swimmer, who had taken part in events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, pleaded guilty last month to 28 cheating charges and two counts of forgery.

Another 250 charges for similar offences were considered during sentencing.

On Friday, District Judge Kan Shuk Weng said that Liew's offences were premeditated and that he was motivated by significant personal gains.

She also noted that he had made full restitution and was once a national swimmer.

 
 

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, who was the dental group's managing director, and Yeo Meow Koon, 47, a clinic's practice manager - are still pending.

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

According to earlier reports in The Straits Times, he would offer less well-off patients lower rates for day surgery 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 so that he could circumvent the daily withdrawal limits set by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and receive multiple claim amounts from the patients' Medisave accounts.

Court documents stated that Goh found out about what Ang was doing and decided to offer the scheme to other patients. Liew took part in the ruse when he joined the firm.

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

The offences came to light after the MOH made a police report on July 14, 2014, following an audit.

The Singapore Dental Council in response to queries by ST said that it will appoint a disciplinary committee to conduct a formal inquiry into Liew’s case.

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.

Liew, who is out on bail of $600,000, has been made a bankrupt.

He will surrender himself on May 13 to begin serving his sentence.

For each cheating charge, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.