Ex scholarship holder and GF impersonate 40 companies, cheat Spring Singapore of over $50K in grants

A 30-year-old recipient of a scholarship impersonated 40 companies with his girlfriend, cheating $50,000 worth of coupons from The Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING) Singapore in the process. 

The man had graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) with a degree in Bio-engineering and biomedicine, and had been a recipient of a scholarship, reports Lianhe Wanbao via Lianhe Zaobao

He worked as a manager in SPRING Singapore between 2011 and 2015 and was in charge of designing the process for the application of Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV), but had already left the position before the putting his plans into motion. 

His 30-year-old girlfriend was an employee of SPRING Singapore during the time of the incident and was a finance manager.

She left the position in May 25, 2016. 

The male accused pleaded guilty to 40 counts of cheating and 161 counts of forgery in court on Wednesday (May 23). 

The female accused pleaded guilty 39 counts of cheating and 157 counts of forgery.

The prosecutor revealed that the two had, during the span of Jan 2015 to Jan 2016, conspired and forged documents to impersonate 40 small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to claim over S$50,000 worth of grants,under various schemes, such as innovation, productivity and human resource development. 

To be eligible for ICV, the companies need to submit their Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) records, quotation lists, receipts, invoices, as well as their General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO) account details. 

The court cited that the man accused would visit Minimarts in the neighbourhood that had ‘potential’ to apply for the grants, while the female accused would check if these establishments had already filed for application. 

For those which have not, the male accused would then purchase their records from ACRA.

The male accused also chose four companies from the ACRA website and impersonated them, by forging their Point-of-Sales (POS) quotation lists, recipients and invoices. 

To avoid suspicion, the two would apply under various emails, and pass the ACRA records and various documents to SPRING Singapore to apply for ICV. 

Once the application succeeds, the male accused proceeded to forge the quotation lists, invoices, receipts, POS photographs and GIRO form to apply for reimbursement. 

The male accused even painstakingly fabricated each POS photo to be different to evade detection, and his accomplice would approve the application upon receiving the documents. 

The two will be sentenced in June, 2017.