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Jail for man involved in cheating Spring Singapore and WDA of $60,500

SINGAPORE – A man who took part in fraudulent cashback schemes that cheated Spring Singapore and the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) of $60,500 in total was sent to jail on Friday (May 28).

Chia Bing Lun, now 29, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of cheating involving $17,000 and two drug-related offences.

District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan sentenced him to a jail term of “eight months and 52 weeks” – about a year and eight months.

More than 100 other charges linked to the remaining amount were considered during sentencing. The Singaporean committed the bulk of his offences in 2016.

The court heard that Chia was part of an unlawful cashback scheme involving the Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) initiative by Spring Singapore.

This scheme provides funding of $5,000 to small and medium-sized enterprises that buy solutions – with Spring Singapore’s approval – to upgrade their business capabilities in areas such as innovation, productivity and financial management.

The court heard that Chia worked as a salesman for Zenith Infosystems.

The firm had a partnership with another company, Webstar, that sold a “customer relationship management” (CRM) system.

A man who operated Zenith Infosystems devised a scheme where resellers and sales staff paid applicants to buy their products. The man’s name was redacted in court documents.

Zenith sales staff then scouted for potential applicants and offered them cashbacks to buy the CRM system for their firms.

Spring Singapore informed the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) in December 2016 that solution provider companies had submitted bogus ICV claims.

Spring Singapore lost $15,000 and the offenders have made no restitution.

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Separately, Chia was also part of another cashback scheme, this one linked to WDA, and his offences caused it to suffer $45,500 in losses.

Two men, Tay Sheng Yang and Ng Yong Jing, both 28, were jailed after admitting to their roles in this scam in 2019.

The ruse exploited the SkillsFuture Credits scheme, which gives Singaporeans credits to offset the fees of eligible self-development courses they take.

Chia was recruited in March 2016 to “sell” courses offered by A.I. Industries. Tay was the firm’s director, and Ng its sole trainer.

WDA was cheated into paying the firm $250 for each claim made. The agency filed a complaint with the CAD in June 2016. It has since been fully compensated for its losses.

In unrelated cases, Chia also admitted to two counts of methamphetamine consumption.

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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