Ex-GM jailed for fraudulent application for professional conversion programme , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Ex-GM jailed for fraudulent application for professional conversion programme

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A man duped the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) into disbursing $13,995 in grants by claiming he intended to take part in a professional conversion programme and falsely declaring his job role and salary.

On Wednesday, Xu Shaowen, 33, was sentenced to 13 weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to one count of cheating and another count of falsification of accounts.

The former general manager of 7W Consultancy claimed to be a human resources manager so he could qualify for the professional conversion programme.

Such programmes, offered by Workforce Singapore and administered by SNEF, aim to help mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians reskill and move into new occupations or sectors. 

Those participating in the programme would receive a salary support grant computed based on the employee’s monthly salary. They would also be eligible for course fee subsidies. 

While applying for the programme in December 2017, Xu falsely declared that his gross monthly salary was $5,800 to maximise the amount of funding he would receive. He also falsified an employment contract to support this claim.

As a result, SNEF disbursed a salary grant of $12,000 to his company and a course fee grant of $1,995 to SNEF’s Corporate Learning Centre. 

In April 2018, Xu also submitted another application on behalf of his colleague Chen Xianyi, 32, an information technology manager from 7W Consultancy. He claimed Chen was a deputy human resource manager earning $5,600.

No disbursement was made by SNEF for this application as it was subsequently withdrawn after Chen asked Xu to do so.

In May 2020, a Workforce Singapore officer made a police report, alleging that 7W Consultancy had made false declarations in an application under the professional conversion programme.

On Wednesday, Xu’s lawyer, Mr Teo Choo Kee, said the grant money Xu received was channelled into 7W Consultancy, which was facing financial difficulties. He added that the firm has since made full restitution to Workforce Singapore.

Noting there were multiple aggravating factors in Xu’s case, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Thaker said: “This case involved the cheating of a government agency, which was deceived into disbursing public monies. Offences involving public funds should be dealt with sternly.”

She said the offence was premeditated, with Xu having studied the criteria of the professional conversion programme so he could determine the salary to falsely declare. 

Those found guilty of cheating can be jailed for up to three years, fined or both.

The offence of falsifying accounts carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine or both.