Singaporean man charged in Philippines with cheating casino and investors of millions

Story updated on May 27, 2015

SINGAPORE - A police report has been filed against a 37-year-old Singaporean in the Philippines, accusing him of trying to cheat a casino of millions of dollars worth of gambling chips using a fake telegraphic transfer.

According to the police report lodged by Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila, Dominic Sim got $8 million worth of gambling chips from the casino in February last year - $3 million of which it has since managed to recover.

Sim, the chief executive of Singapore-based Bullion Investment Group, may also be in trouble here.

A representative for 16 investors from Thailand filed a police report last week alleging that he cheated them over an investment they made of more than $600,000.

A Solaire Resort and Casino representative told The Straits Times that Sim is a junket operator who first partnered the casino in 2013. Such operators are middlemen who bring high-stakes gamblers to casinos for a fee.

He also bought chips from the casino to pass on to the gamblers. The chips cannot be bought on credit, so Sim allegedly used a fraudulent transfer in a bid to trick the casino into releasing chips to him.

The casino issued him $8 million worth of chips at first. It said it has since retrieved $3 million worth after finding out that it never got the money Sim purportedly paid. "We did not report the matter to the police immediately as he said he would return the money, and we wanted to give him a chance," the representative said. "We have terminated our partnership with Bullion."

Sim was arrested on April 21 for not paying his hotel bill of about $2,000. He is currently out on bail but is not allowed to leave the Philippines.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said the Singapore Embassy in Manila and the ministry are in touch with Sim and his family and will continue to provide consular assistance.

Meanwhile, a Thai national who wanted to be known only as Mr Tanainan travelled to Singapore last week to file a police report, alleging that his clients had been cheated by Sim.

Mr Tanainan, 31, who runs an investment academy in Thailand, had advised his clients to invest in Bullion after coming across it during an investment fair held here two years ago.

Investors would put money with Bullion as capital to play against gamblers in the casino. Returns of as much as 100 per cent were promised, he said.

Since February last year, his clients had put in $642,000 in all. Returns started being delayed in October and dried up in January.

"I am very upset about this because I recommended people to invest in Bullion and they trusted me. My reputation is also affected now," he said.

Attempts to reach Sim was unsuccessful. When The Straits Times visited the Bullion office in Beach Road during office hours on Tuesday, it was closed. An employee in the same building, who declined to be named, said the office had been vacant since last month.

The Straits Times understands that an employee is suing Sim for not paying his salary of $6,000 for the last four months.

Correction note: An earlier version of the story said Mr Dominic Sim was charged with cheating the casino. He was in fact charged with not paying his hotel bills of about $2,000. A police report has been lodged against him by the casino, alleging that he owes the casino about $5 million after securing the money through fraudulent transfers.