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Author Topic: Leong Weng Cheou [Certified dishonest]  (Read 270 times)

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Leong Weng Cheou [Certified dishonest]
« on: March 19, 2019, 02:42:31 PM »
Former Spring Singapore employee jailed for cheating agency of S$155,000 in bogus claims
By Alfred Chua | 18 March, 2019

A former senior executive at Spring Singapore was jailed four years for cheating the statutory board and processing fraudulent claims for its voucher scheme.

SINGAPORE — The mastermind behind a conspiracy to cheat a government agency of around S$155,000 was sentenced to four years’ jail on Monday (March 18).

Leong Weng Cheou was a senior executive at enterprise development agency Spring Singapore when he exploited a voucher scheme with four friends.

The agency is now known as Enterprise Singapore — formed in April last year after the merger of Spring Singapore and International Enterprise Singapore.

In January, Leong, 49, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of cheating and another 18 counts of forgery.

Another 105 counts of similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Delivering his sentencing remarks on Monday, District Judge Mathew Joseph noted that the case involved “extensive planning” on the part of a senior official in a government agency.

“You colluded with friends to mastermind a clever deception to divert the delivery of public funds to intended recipients.

“(Such actions) must be denounced without hesitation by the courts,” the judge said.

Leong, who has been in remand since December last year, kept his head down as the sentence was delivered.

ABOUT THE CASE

Spring Singapore’s Innovation and Capability Voucher scheme is a reimbursement-based, S$5,000 voucher programme targeted at small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to encourage them to develop their capabilities in five categories: Innovation, productivity, human resource, financial management and solutions.

To get the S$5,000 voucher, SMEs have to first submit an application and quotation for the solution to the statutory board for approval. Once approval is given, the company can make purchases and submit a claim online after the delivery of the solution.

Some time in 2015, Leong devised a plan and got four friends to create and register shell companies and to forge supporting documents, in order to apply for and get money from the scheme.

He taught them how to set up and register the shell companies with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.

He did it because he needed the money for personal expenses.

He also disapproved of how the agency was disbursing money to applicants who, he felt, were making claims that were only worth a fraction of the sum.

In total, Leong forged 31 sets of quotations, invoices and receipts from solution providers. He also forged a cheque and bank statements.

His friends helped to submit the forged documents to Spring Singapore.

Leong selected 30 of them and assessed them favourably, the court was told. This increased the possibility of the fraudulent claims and applications being approved.

In total, 31 fraudulent claims were approved and about S$155,000 was disbursed to the shell companies.

Leong pocketed S$77,500, which he used for personal expenses. He has since made full restitution.

The cases of the other four individuals are still before the court.

For cheating, Leong could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined for each charge.

Source: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/former-spring-singapore-employee-jailed-cheating-agency-around-s155000-bogus-claims