Man jailed for attempting to dupe Iras into disbursing $745,200 in payouts

Tan Sin Long, 40, was jailed for 18 months and four weeks, and fined $688,800 on March 5, 2019.
Tan Sin Long, 40, was jailed for 18 months and four weeks, and fined $688,800 on March 5, 2019.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A man who attempted to dupe the tax authorities of more than $745,000 in payouts under a government scheme has been jailed and fined.

Tan Sin Long, 40, was jailed for 18 months and four weeks, and fined $688,800 on Tuesday (March 5).

However, he did not pay the fine, according to court documents, and will instead be serving an additional 53-week jail term.

On March 1 last year, Tan admitted in court to being the prime mover of a ruse to try to dupe the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) into disbursing $745,200 of public funds.

The scheme grants cash payouts and bonuses to businesses to spur productivity. To qualify for the cash payouts, firms must already have at least three local employees and incur business expenditures.

In a press statement on Tuesday, Iras said that Tan had assisted 13 individuals in making fraudulent cash payout and bonus claims between February and April 2014.

“He assisted two of these individuals in creating invoices for cash payments of $60,000 each for the development of an e-commerce software with automated functions,” it said.

However, there were no such payments, and the false invoices were intended to help the two people abuse the PIC scheme.

 

Tan also helped 11 others to make fraudulent claims, by providing or filling in their application forms with the details of friends, family members and unrelated individuals. Although they were listed as employees in the forms, they were not.

Iras said that six of the 13 people were convicted and sentenced in 2017 for giving false information to the Comptroller of Income Tax to obtain PIC cash payouts and bonuses that they were not entitled to. The other seven received stern warnings.

Tan himself also provided false information in his firm CXL Holdings’ PIC application forms in September 2013 and March 2014. 

He had claimed that his mother and sister were working for the consultation and investment firm he owned, which actually had no employees at the time.

This earned him $45,600 in cash payouts and $15,000 in bonuses.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew told the court in March last year that after Tan was successful with that first claim for his firm, he actively approached and recruited individuals to make similar bogus claims.

He also registered another company YJP Holdings to make money through the same method.

The ruse came to light when Tan shared with an acquaintance, Mr Richard Chan Kum Weng, his ploy to obtain money from Iras. 

He created a false invoice on March 31, 2014, as a supporting document to help Mr Chan, sole proprietor of Rong Metal Services, with his claim. 

That was when Iras managed to detect the fraudulent claim. 

Tan’s scam resulted in Iras disbursing $96,600 in cash payouts and bonuses. It did not disburse the remaining $648,600.

Tan had made a restitution of $600 to Iras.

“Iras takes a serious view of any attempt by claimants, vendors or promoters who abuse the PIC scheme and defraud the Government. In particular, Iras will take stern action against promoters who facilitate offences committed against the scheme,” the tax authority said.

Offenders are liable to penalties of up to four times the amount of PIC cash payout and bonus fraudulently obtained, along with a fine of up to $50,000 or up to five years’ jail.

“Businesses or individuals are encouraged to immediately report to Iras any past or current malpractices or potential abuses of the PIC scheme,” it said.