An unemployed man forged a doctor's signature on a document to certify that he was "permanently unfit for work" so as to get long-term financial aid.
Liu Tianfu admitted to forging a Medical Certification of Work Status by fraudulently signing the certificate with the intention of using it to cheat the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). Liu forged the signature of Dr Lee Yu Wei in February.
The 40-year-old also admitted to a second charge of causing alarm to a management executive in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital by sending her an abusive e-mail, telling her to "commit suicide", last October.
The hospital employee had been instructed to follow up with Liu over an outstanding hospital bill dated Aug 19 last year. She sent him an e-mail on Oct 24 the same year, asking for his Medical Financial Assistance Card.
He replied four days later, saying: "Please solve the problem yourself. If you feel and think like dying, just go ahead and commit suicide. Don't resist your heart's desire and feelings to die... so just die for the sake of mankind and world peace... and I do not wish to hear from you again."
Yesterday, Liu was sentenced to seven months and 22 days in jail. The 22-day sentence was imposed as he was subject to a remission order made by the Commissioner of Prisons, and had breached a condition due to his re-offending on Oct 28 last year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Weiming said Liu approached the MSF on Feb 6 to renew his financial aid under a social service assistance scheme. He was instructed to go for a medical review and given the certificate to be filled in by the attending doctor.
But he forged Dr Lee's signature, as well as fraudulently added his name stamp and ticked the box that stated "permanently unfit for work". He later submitted the document to MSF, which approved his application.
Some time in late February, the MSF manager contacted the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to clarify Liu's work status.
Dr Lee, who was no longer working in IMH by then, lodged a police report on Feb 28, alleging that Liu had forged the certificate.
DPP Tan said that as a result, MSF paid $340 each month to Liu from March to July, and $360 in August. The total amount paid was $2,060. Had Liu's deception not been discovered, he would have continued to receive $360 a month, the DPP added.
Liu, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for forgery. For the repeat offence under the Protection from Harassment Act, he could have been fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to 12 months.