Forger gets jail for bank-cheating scam

A project engineer took part in a scam which involved forging the Central Provident Fund (CPF) documents of about 30 people to cheat banks into giving them loans. As a result, about four banks suffered more than $600,000 in losses.

Ng Siong Boon, 48, was sentenced to three years and nine months' jail yesterday after pleading guilty to 12 counts of committing forgery for the purpose of cheating, involving more than $200,000. Fifty-nine other charges for similar offences were considered during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Vadivalagan Shanmuga said that in 2010, Ng received a call from a man known only as Ah Seng who had come up with a ruse to earn easy money. Ah Seng, who is still at large, asked Ng to find customers who were desperate to get loans but could not meet criteria set by banks.

Ah Seng also taught Ng to advertise online to lure potential customers. Ng later received calls from such customers, who gave him information such as their identity card numbers and SingPass details.

Initially, these details were handed over to Ah Seng, who would forge the customers' CPF documents. Ng would then mail to the banks the necessary paperwork - including the forged documents-to apply for credit facilities.

DPP Vadivalagan said that Ng eventually "mastered the art" of forging CPF documents by using simple software like Microsoft Word and helped Ah Seng in doctoring them.

The court heard that for every successful application, the scammers would collect 30 per cent of the total approved amounts as commission.

The offences came to light following a tip-off and police arrested Ng on Feb 26, 2011. He has made no restitution.

Defence lawyer Raphael Louis urged District Judge Samuel Chua to sentence his client to a jail term of three years and nine months. The lawyer added: "Siong Boon is extremely regretful over his actions."

Ng asked to start serving his sentence at a later date, as he had to settle some personal affairs.

Judge Chua offered him bail of $30,000 and ordered him to surrender himself at the State Courts on March 26. For each count of committing forgery for the purpose of cheating, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'Forger gets jail for bank-cheating scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe