An American who posed as a child psychologist fooled Temasek Polytechnic, the Government and the local press for nearly a decade using forged educational certificates, fake claims that he is a child prodigy who is the son of a renowned psychologist, and the blood of his doctor boyfriend in order to cheat the authorities from finding out that he is HIV-positive.
Last week, Singaporean doctor Ler Teck Siang was sentenced to two years’ jail for submitting his own blood sample instead of HIV-positive Mikhy Farrera-Brochez’ blood sample to the authorities.
Aware of local laws that ban foreigners with HIV from working in Singapore, Farrera-Brochez enlisted the help of his boyfriend, Ler Teck Siang, whom he had met online. Dr Ler put his own blood taken from his arm into a test-tube and labelled the blood sample with his boyfriend’s name.
When the blood sample came back negative for HIV, Farrera-Brochez successfully received an employment pass from the Ministry of Manpower in 2008. The con worked so well, that Dr Ler and Farrera-Brochez replicated the trick in 2013 and the foreigner received a personalised employment pass from the Government.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhas Malhotra argued in court:“The fact that the blood test was supposedly performed by a doctor and issued by a clinic gave it an aura of authority, making it virtually certain that MOM would be deceived. His conduct evinces a blatant disregard for the authority of our laws.”
Using his employment pass, forged educational qualifications and fake claims that he is a child prodigy who entered the prestigious Princeton University at the age of 13, Farrera-Brochez proceeded to trick Temasek Polytechnic into offering him a job in 2008.
Over the next eight years, from 2008 to 2016, Farrera-Brochez ‘impressed’ Temasek Polytechnic so much that the organisation allowed him to set up a Child Psychology Clinic within its campus and allowed him to provide consultancy and assessment services there.
In an interview he gave the local press in 2010, Farrera-Brochez – who flaunted the fake qualifications “APA, APS, MCollT, MS DPSY, DipED” – boasted that he learned to speak, read and write fluent Hebrew, Spanish and English by the age of three.
He added that his mother, a supposedly “renowned professor of child and adolescent psychology, child neurology and gifted science and mathematics education in the UK” named Dr Teresa King, trained him.
Farrera-Brochez told the press, “I didn’t know I was a gifted child initially,” before bragging that he was a “laboratory rat” of his mother who tested “many of her theories on gifted education” on him.
Attributing his success to his mother’s encouragement, Farrera-Brochez boasted that he soon became “the youngest registered psychologist in the history of the American Psychological Association.” He added: “My mother is a really big influence in my life. I would not have made it without all her help and guidance.”
The efforts of The Independent UK to locate this “renowned” Dr Teresa King yielded no results and show that this claim too, like the many tall tales Farrera-Brochez used to trick the local authorities, may be false. The publication reported:
“Attempts to trace the “renowned professor of child and adolescent psychology” drew a blank, with the British Psychological Society telling The Independent that its register contained no psychologists affiliated to any academic institution under the mother’s name given by Mr Farrera-Brochez.
“The bewildered husband of the one UK-registered psychologist who qualified under the name given by Mr Farrera-Brochez confirmed to The Independent that the man convicted in Singapore was not her son, and that she did not specialise in any of the relevant areas.
“If Mr Farrera-Brochez’s mother is a “renowned professor”, she may be a very elusive “renowned professor”. The Independent could not immediately find any psychologist, anywhere in the world, with the name given by Mr Farrera-Brochez who specialised in child and adolescent psychology, child neurology, or gifted science and mathematics education.”
Farrera-Brochez’ deception came to an end in 2016 when he was apprehended by the authorities. He was sentenced to 28 months’ jail last year for offences including cheating, lying to a public servant, possessing drugs and using forged educational certificates.
His boyfriend, Dr Ler, was sentenced to two years’ jail for abetment of cheating and for giving a false statement to a public servant.