Asia

Woman jailed 10 months for forgery of documents to obtain training grants

SINGAPORE – A 41-year-old woman was sentenced to 10 months’ jail on Monday (Jan 20) for cheating the then Workforce Development Agency (WDA) into issuing training grants of more than $160,000.

Lun Yeow Siang, a Singaporean, pleaded guilty to 20 charges of forgery with the intention to cheat. Another 90 similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Lun was the assistant general manager of beauty and wellness salon chain Adonis Group, and was in charge of training matters.

One of the companies under the Adonis Group was Adonis International, which was accredited as a training organisation offering Workforce Skills Qualifications courses.

Some time in 2012, Adonis Group began applying for training grants from WDA, which now forms part of Workforce Singapore.

Companies can claim a training grant when their employees complete a training course conducted by an accredited training organisation, provided that these employees attain a minimum level of attendance, among other things.

As part of the claims process, the employees’ attendance list and assessment plan of the training course must be submitted to WDA.

Once the application is approved, the agency would make payment of the training grant and absentee payroll to the employer.

Between September 2012 and June 2013, Lun instructed a colleague Tan Zhenni to dishonestly sign on the attendance lists and assessment plans on behalf of the employees who supposedly attended training courses conducted by Adonis International.

These forged records were then submitted to WDA to deceive the agency into believing that Adonis Group employees had fulfilled the minimum attendance requirements and undergone the required course assessments.

The fraudulent claims resulted in WDA making a total payout of more than $160,000.

In proposing a sentence of 12 months, the prosecution pointed out that Lun did not gain any direct financial benefit from the forgery and fraudulent claims, and Adonis Group had also since repaid WDA the full amount disbursed.

District Judge Toh Han Li eventually gave Lun a jail sentence of 10 months.

Lun’s lawyer, Mr Josephus Tan, told the court that his client wished to start serving her sentence immediately, despite the impending Chinese New Year celebrations, as she wanted to be present when her son takes his national examinations later this year.

Tan Zhenni has been charged with the offences of forgery for the purposes of cheating and is expected to be back in court on Feb 14.

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