Man involved in $40 million SkillsFuture scam jailed for more than five years | The New Paper
Singapore

Man involved in $40 million SkillsFuture scam jailed for more than five years

This article is more than 12 months old

He was jobless while his sister and brother-in-law were allegedly pulling off a $40 million SkillsFuture scam - the largest case of a public institution here being defrauded. They needed to park their new-found wealth somewhere.

Lee Chi Wai, 32, helped the couple hide $6.7 million in cash and 11kg of gold worth $626,500 at his Sengkang flat.

After admitting his role in the scam, Lee was jailed five years and eight months yesterday.

Lee is the first of five people charged in court over the scam last year to be sentenced.

The cases against his mother, Tan Yoon Nooi, 60, sister Lee Lai Leng, 40, her husband Ng Cheng Kwee, 42, and Ng's friend David Lim Wee Hong, 40, are pending.

Ng is alleged to be the mastermind of the scam, which got nearly $40 million in fake claims from SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). The syndicate submitted more than 8,000 fraudulent course fee applications to SSG, using nine shell companies whose bank accounts were credited with $39.9 million.

Of this, $27.8 million was withdrawn and a portion handed to Lee's sister, Lee Lai Leng, for safekeeping.

Lee Lai Leng first transferred $49,950 to his account, saying she could not have the money in hers. She bought her brother a safe and would visit his flat to place large amounts of cash in it.

On Nov 1 last year, she told him to empty the safe and hide the wealth elsewhere. Lee kept it at a friend's place, but the siblings were arrested the next day.

It was around May last year that Lee Chi Wai realised his sister and her husband were getting increasingly wealthy.

The couple, whose flat had been repossessed after Ng's coffee shop business failed, began driving a second-hand Mercedes and were looking to buy a new home. Lee asked his sister for a loan to buy a car and she gave $30,000 to him on Sept 9.

Between September and October last year, she visited his flat to place large amounts of cash in the safe that she had arranged to be delivered to him.

COURT & CRIME