SINGAPORE - The prosecution has called for a four-year jail sentence for a dentist who came up with a bogus claims scam involving his patients' Medisave accounts.
Steven Ang Kiam Hau, 44, duped the Central Provident Fund Board into disbursing $434,241 from 14 patients' Medisave accounts to the clinic where he worked - The Smile Division Dental Surgeons @ Orchard.
On Tuesday (June 26), Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Guan Siew told District Judge Kan Shuk Weng that Ang had abused his position as an accredited medical practitioner.
The DPP added: "The accused's criminal conduct was especially egregious bearing in mind the profile of his patients. His patients were mostly not sophisticated or highly educated individuals.
"The youngest of the accused's 14 patients was 49 years old, the oldest was 65... These were not individuals who had the rest of their working years to replenish the Medisave savings that were decimated by the accused's offences."
As part of the scam, Ang would certify that day surgeries were conducted on multiple dates when, in fact, they were done in a day, or two at most. As a result, the CPF Board was induced into disbursing multiple claim amounts to the clinic in Lucky Plaza.
Ang's legal team, led by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, urged Judge Kan to sentence their client to six months' jail.
SC Singh told the court that performing the dental procedures on the patients over a number of days "would have been contrary" to the best interests of Ang's patients.
He added: "The procedures that were performed on the patients were highly invasive, involving extremely high levels of pain, which meant that if the procedures were not performed in a single day, the patients had to undergo sedation on a number of occasions which would have been detrimental to their well-being. The amount of healing time that the patients would have required would have been far longer if the procedures had been staggered."
On May 4, Ang pleaded guilty to 30 cheating charges involving five patients and $65,858. Another 253 charges involving the remaining amount will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
DPP Teo had earlier said that Ang's share of the net fees was 56 per cent while Smile was entitled to the rest.
Ang, who joined Smile in 2007, came up with the scheme two years later.
The dental group's managing director Cecil Goh Chin Chye, 48, found out about the scheme in 2011 and saw it as a way to attract more patients, the court heard.
The offences came to light after the Ministry of Health made a police report on July 14, 2014, following an audit.
The cases involving Goh, Smile's practice manager Yeo Meow Koon, 47, and dentist Daniel Liew Yaoxiang, 36, are still pending. Ang is out on bail of $250,000 and is expected to be sentenced on Aug 3.
The Straits Times understands that The Smile Division was taken over by new management in 2015 and is now known as the TSD Dental Group. They are different entities.