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The Straits Times
Oct 12, 2022
A man lied about the employment status of his mother and wife to dupe the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) into disbursing a total of $4,800 from the Covid-19 Support Grant to them.
He also falsely declared their last-drawn monthly income even though his wife voluntarily resigned from her job and his mother was a housewife.
On Wednesday, Huang Weiming, 38, was sentenced to 19 weeks' jail after he pleaded guilty to three charges of cheating and attempted cheating.
MSF lodged a police report on March 4, 2021 after it found out that Huang had submitted fraudulent applications.
The Covid-19 Support Grant is a financial support scheme rolled out to help Singapore residents cope with the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
An applicant must have experienced, among other things, involuntary unemployment due to retrenchment or contract termination after Jan 23, 2020.
The court heard that in July 2020, Huang applied for the grant on behalf of his mother, Madam Chai Chorng Yin, 68, claiming she was employed by his company, Reastar.
He is the owner and sole proprietor of Reastar, which provides accounting services.
In the application, Huang lied that Madam Chai's last-drawn monthly salary was $1,000. However, she was a housewife who had never been employed.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Cheng You Duen noted that Huang knew that Madam Chai did not meet the eligibility criteria, as she had not been retrenched nor had she lost her personal income due to Covid-19.
In September 2020, Huang helped his wife, Madam Wang Qing, 35, to apply for the grant.
He declared that she lost her job due to Covid-19 although she had resigned from her company, Tropic Planners and Landscape, over personal reasons.
As the application required him to include a contact from the human resources department of Madam Wang's former company, he provided a fake name and listed his phone number.
Deceived by Huang that Madam Wang and Madam Chai were eligible for the grant, MSF disbursed $2,400 to each of them.
Huang also submitted a fraudulent application on behalf of his father, Mr Ng Ah Soi, 71.
Despite knowing that his father was terminated by his company, Joseph Coach Services, for misconduct, Huang wrote in the application that his father would lose at least 30 per cent of his salary due to Covid-19.
MSF rejected the application after assessing that Mr Ng did not suffer such a loss, based on the information provided.
Last December, a woman attempted to claim money from the Covid-19 Support Grant by forging a termination letter from the condominium she worked at as an administrative assistant. She was sentenced to 16 months' jail for attempted cheating and other offences.
The offence of cheating carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.