Jail for man who used fake diploma in job applications and impersonated referees

SINGAPORE - When applying for two jobs, Muhammad Rasul Kadir Ali submitted a forged diploma in security and fire safety management.

To bolster his case in one of the applications, he submitted his own phone numbers as his two referees' contacts to impersonate them and provide good feedback about himself.

The 31-year-old Singaporean was jailed for three weeks on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to two charges of using a forged document and one charge of cheating by personation.

He was caught after a human resource manager who called the referees noticed their voices sounded like Rasul's, grew suspicious and conducted a check.

In 2016, Rasul wanted to apply for a job as a fire safety manager, but knew it would take him about two years to earn the required diploma.

An acquaintance, known only as Ravi, told Rasul he could prepare such a diploma for him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor V. Jesudevan said: "Initially, the accused was reluctant, but the prospect of having to wait two years to obtain the proper qualification led him to change his mind even though he knew it was wrong."

He got the forged diploma from Ravi and an academic transcript purportedly issued by Temasek Polytechnic. Rasul claimed he lost contact with Ravi after that, said the DPP. It was not mentioned in court if Rasul paid for the fake diploma.

On July 8, 2020, Rasul submitted the forged diploma as part of his job application to SPH Retail Property Management Services.

The senior human resource manager at the firm noticed the fonts used in the document were different from the ones used by Temasek Polytechnic.

She contacted the school's administrative manager who confirmed Rasul's particulars were not in its database of graduates and that it did not issue the diploma.

Rasul submitted the forged diploma again on March 3, 2021, when he was applying for a job at Serangoon Gardens Country Club.

In the application, he also listed two character referees – a Mr Lai Kok Wei and a Mr Azman – and provided his own contact numbers for each of them. Rasul knew that the company's human resource employee would contact the referees as part of its background checks, said DPP Jesudevan.

The human resource manager at the country club who spoke to the "referees" got suspicious and contacted an administrative clerk at Temasek Polytechnic to verify the authenticity of the diploma.

On March 9, 2021, the clerk lodged a police report.

For each charge of using a forged document, Rasul could have been jailed for up to four years, fined or both.

For cheating by personation, he could have been jailed for up to five years, fined or both.

In a similar case, a 49-year-old man used fake qualifications, including ones from National University of Singapore and Singapore Polytechnic, to get civil engineering jobs at 38 companies between 2013 and 2017.

He worked at each company for short periods of time and then moved on quickly to avoid suspicion.

In 2019, he was jailed for two years and 11 months and fined $1,600.

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