Singapore— Tang Cheng, a Chinese national, was able to remit over 12 million yuan (S$2.42 million) via her illegal remittance business. According to Tan Hsiao Tien, the Deputy Public Prosecutor in the case, Ms Tang also aided in the remittance of S$390,000 for two individuals involved in the S$40 million SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) scam, reportedly the largest case of fraud perpetrated against a public institution in the country.
According to the Straits Times, Ms Tang, a permanent resident of the country, pleaded guilty to one count of carrying out a remittance business without a licence. She was given a fine of S$15,000 as well as a six-week jail sentence on Friday, April 26.
The 45-year-old Chinese national was employed as a customer service officer for Golden Dragon Remittance, which operated legally, from March 2014 and July 2017. However, she ran a side business of illegally remitting funds for 10 customers into numerous designated banks in China. From March to November 2017, she facilitated 73 illegal remittances.
The Deputy Public Prosecutor said to District Judge Adam Nakhoda: “These individuals would generally meet the accused at her house to pass her Singapore Dollars (SGD) in cash, or transfer SGD into Singapore bank accounts belonging to the accused or her friends.
In return, the accused would help to remit the equivalent amount in Renminbi (RMB) from her own or her friends’ bank accounts in China to designated bank accounts in China as requested by these individuals. The accused carried out the remittances in her personal capacity and not as part of her job scope at Golden Dragon.”
However, Ms Tang did not ask her clients to pay service fees for the remittances she did on their behalf, unlike legal remittance companies do.
DPP Tan said, “She would only ask her customers to pay any administrative fees charged by the banks… The accused claimed that she would usually offer her customers an exchange rate that is around 0.02 RMB lower than the prevailing market rate.
Although customers received a less favourable exchange rate, they saved on service fees. Based on the accused’s admission of her offered exchange rate, the estimated profits for her remittance business was at least RMB49,555.86.”
On November 22, 2017, almost S$156,000 was taken by authorities from a safe in Ms Tang’s house. Later, over S$10,000 was given back to her. The remainder, authorities said, was money from her illegal remittance business.
Currently out on S$10,000 bail, Ms Tang will report to the State Courts on May 10 in order to begin serving her sentence. She could have ended up with a maximum fine of S$100,000 and a 2-year jail sentence.
The with SkillsFuture scam was carried out at around the same time Ms Tang operated her illegal remittance business.
In order to make training grant claims with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), an alleged criminal gang made use of nine business agencies made up of employers and training providers. SSG paid out almost S$40 million in training grants to these entities in a half-year period.
The 13 syndicate members have been charged with forgery, cheating, perversion of justice and money laundering. Additional charges include the use of forged documents, cheating, failure to exercise reasonable diligence as directors of business entities and criminal conspiracy, were also filed.
The police said earlier this year that they had the cooperation and assistance of officials in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and China in capturing four syndicate members who left Singapore./TISG
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