SINGAPORE - A former grassroots volunteer from Sembawang GRC has been hauled to court and charged with offences that include cheating involving more than $1.4 million and committing forgery for the purpose of cheating by using the name of an MP for the constituency, Mr Ong Ye Kung.
Mr Ong is also the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence.
Reichie Chng Teck Kiam, who turned 51 on Monday (Sept 11), was first charged in court in July and was slapped with more than 100 additional charges on Monday.
He is now accused of 94 counts of committing forgery for the purpose of cheating, 35 counts of cheating, 22 counts of converting the benefits of his criminal conduct and one count of obtaining a personal loan when he was an undischarged bankrupt.
Chng, who is now a GrabCar driver, is accused of cheating 12 people between November 2012 and March this year. He allegedly cheated them of between $2,000 and $250,000 each.
According to court documents, he has made restitution totalling $51,680.
As for his forgery charges, he is accused of making a false electronic record on Aug 31 last year by capturing a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation purportedly carried out between him and Mr Ong in relation to an investment scheme that the minister was supposedly participating in.
Chng allegedly created the record with the intention of giving the impression that Mr Ong had made it.
Chng then allegedly used the electronic record to cheat one Tan Boon Hai into consenting that Chng retain some property. Court documents did not state what these were.
Mr Ong made a police report on March 22.
Chng is accused of targeting the same victim by using a similar method three months later.
He is also accused of converting the benefits of his criminal conduct into casino chips from Marina Bay Sands Casino.
The court heard that Chng was a bankrupt between Aug 26, 1994 and July 3, 2015.
But on Sept 12, 2013, he allegedly obtained a personal loan of $50,000 from one Chua Boon Joon without informing the latter that he was an undischarged bankrupt.
In a statement to the media on Monday, Mr Ong confirmed that Chng was a grassroots volunteer in his constituency. He gave the reassurance that he and his volunteers were committed to continue serving residents.
Chng, who is represented by lawyer T.M. Sinnadurai, was offered bail of $40,000.
He will be back in court on Oct 11.
If convicted of cheating, he can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge.
And if convicted of forgery for the purpose of cheating, for each charge, he can also be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.