SINGAPORE - A man went on trial on Monday (March 26) for helping businesses make false claims for cash payouts and bonuses totalling $1.1 million under a government scheme.
S Chandran faces 58 charges under the Income Tax Act for helping 49 claimants to fraudulently obtain the money in Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) cash payouts and bonuses.
Chandran, 37-year-old owner of Paradize Consultancy, is accused of committing the offences between June 2013 and November 2014. So far, 19 claimants including his wife A. K. Sahtyah have been charged in the past year under the Income Tax Act.
On Monday, prosecutors proceeded with three charges against Chandran.
He was said to have helped three claimants obtain cash payouts and bonuses totalling $73,818 between April 1 and April 30, 2014.
He was accused of falsely representing that each of the claimants had met the PIC scheme's condition of employing three local employees.
The claimants are Mr Mahendran Rajoo, owner of M Midhuna Event Management, Ms Shanti R Peerisamy, owner of Sharmila Event Management, and Ms Crystal Priya of Estrella Eventz.
"This is a case of fraud committed against the State on a large scale," Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sanjiv Vaswani said in his opening address.
The PIC scheme is meant for businesses which have made genuine investments to enhance productivity and innovation.
But there have been claimants who made false claims. Typically in such cases, the claimants will enter into arrangements with vendors to give the impression that they have incurred the expenditures for which their claims are based.
They may also submit the names and particulars of persons who are not their employees to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) to show that they have met the scheme's condition of employing three local employees.
"The prosecution will adduce evidence to show that, after Chandran had assisted the claimants in making these claims, he took steps to coach them" on how to respond to queries by Iras so that these claims would be approved, said DPP Vaswani .
The trial continues on Tuesday.