Two men were jailed yesterday for cheating the then Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) of cash totalling $19,780.
This is the first time offenders were dealt with in court for abusing the agency's SkillsFuture Credits (SFC) scheme.
School bus coordinator Tan Yu Sheng, 29, was jailed for eight months after causing WDA - now known as SkillsFuture Singapore - to lose $8,960. He pleaded guilty to seven cheating charges involving $3,480. Operations manager Sim Chee Kiong, 41, was jailed for six months for causing WDA $10,820 in losses. He admitted to six cheating charges involving $2,960.
Court documents showed that both of them committed the offences with alleged mastermind Eric Zheng Zhenwei, 35, whose case is still pending.
The SFC scheme was launched in January last year to encourage people to take ownership of their skill development and lifelong learning.
Under the scheme, all Singaporeans aged 25 and above received an opening credit of $500 in their SFC accounts which could be used to pay for approved courses. To use the SFC, trainees had to submit to WDA a claim, which they had to cancel if they failed to attend the course.
Zheng is the sole director of Biz HR Solutionz, which provided human resource consultancy services.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Haniza Abnass said that in January last year, Zheng allegedly masterminded a plan to defraud the SFC scheme.
Tan and Sim decided to be part of his plan to expand Biz HR's trainee intake. They promoted the firm's courses and offered $200 incentive to each of their contacts in exchange for their $500 or $480 SFC.
Tan and Sim followed Zheng's instructions and told their contacts they would still receive the cash if they did not attend the courses.
Between Jan 1 and April 2 last year, Zheng recruited 380 trainees to submit claims to WDA. The court heard that 293 of these claims were approved and WDA disbursed $144,840 to Biz HR. WDA withheld the remaining 87 claims. Out of the 380 trainees, Tan was involved in referring 89, and Sim, 73.
Tan and Sim would each get $250 for each successful recruit after Zheng received the trainee's SFC monies. Tan and Sim would then pay their trainees $200 each and pocket the remainder. Zheng allegedly kept the remaining $250 or $230 for himself.