Two dentists first to be charged with cheating via Chas

Dr Teo Eu Gene (left) and Dr Andy Joshua Warren, both formerly working at Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics, were charged with cheating and falsifying accounts between August 2014 and October 2015.
Dr Teo Eu Gene (left) and Dr Andy Joshua Warren, both formerly working at Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics, were charged with cheating and falsifying accounts between August 2014 and October 2015.ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

They allegedly made false claims under the Community Health Assist Scheme

Two dentists yesterday became the first people to be charged with cheating the Government through the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas).

Teo Eu Gene, 36, and Andy Joshua Warren, 34, both formerly working at Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics, were charged with cheating and falsifying accounts between August 2014 and October 2015.

Teo, formerly of Phoenix Dental Surgery clinic at Marine Parade, faces 60 charges, while Warren faces 24 charges.

Warren's charges include cheating the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board by making false Medisave claims for treatments that were not done. At the time of the offence, Warren was practising under the name of Ng Yu Ming. He changed his name with a deed poll in 2017.

The two dentists are accused of making false claims with regard to 23 people for sums totalling more than $54,000. Both offences - cheating and falsifying records - carry penalties of a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine. They are out on bail of $20,000 each.

Two Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics were taken off Chas in 2016, which means they can no longer offer their patients the government subsidy.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) rolled out Chas to offer lower-income patients subsidies for treatments at medical and dental clinics.

It has since been extended to include those from the Pioneer Generation and, from next month, the Merdeka Generation as well as all Singaporeans with chronic ailments.

MOH had filed police reports against dentists working at Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics for making claims for treatments that they had allegedly not done.

 
 
 

The two are not the first dentists to be in the soup for cheating the authorities.

Steven Ang Kiam Hau, 44, of The Smile Division Surgeons @ Orchard was sentenced last year to 30 months in jail for cheating the CPF Board of $434,241 from 14 patients' Medisave accounts. He has also been struck off the Dental Register.

Daniel Liew Yaoxiang, also from the same clinic, was jailed for two years for duping the CPF Board into paying out $388,700 from 13 patients' Medisave accounts, leaving most of them with nothing in their Medisave.

Both dentists have made full restitution to the CPF.

The MOH has made police reports against several other clinics, both dental and medical, for possible fraud.

Last year, $152 million was disbursed under Chas, of which $64 million was given out for dental treatment. Depending on the procedure, dental claims from Chas can top $260 per treatment.

The peak for dental claims was in 2015, when $81 million was disbursed.

The ministry told The Straits Times: "Since Chas was launched in 2012, 17 clinics have been suspended from the scheme. The dental clinics suspended to date include Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics in 2016 and King's Dental Surgery in 2019."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2019, with the headline 'Two dentists first to be charged with cheating via Chas'. Print Edition | Subscribe