Man fined after submitting forged certificates to enter university
Poly graduate fined $5,500 for altering his GPA of 1.76 to 2.76 on his transcripts when he applied to the then-SIM University
A polytechnic graduate tried to gain admission into a university thrice after altering his grade point average (GPA) from 1.76 to 2.76 on his academic transcript.
But Kieffer Tay Kai Xian, 24, was rejected and reported to the police by the university after repeatedly submitting doctored polytechnic certificates.
He was fined $5,500 in court yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of forgery. Another three charges for forgery were taken into consideration.
Tay is now in his final semester at SIM Global Education studying business management and communications.
He completed his national service in 2016 and was desperate to study finance in a university.
But he had graduated from Temasek Polytechnic in 2014 with a GPA of 1.76, out of 4.0, for his diploma in leisure and resorts management.
Doubting that he would qualify for top universities, Tay decided to apply to SIM University, which was renamed Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) in 2017.
To improve his chances, he altered the GPA of 1.76 on his polytechnic academic transcript to 2.76, and submitted the forged document once in 2016 and twice in 2017.
When SIM University tried to verify the forged transcript, it found that it was doctored and rejected his applications.
On March 1 this year, a management executive in SUSS made a police report against Tay for repeatedly submitting the doctored certificate.
Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren urged the court to impose a fine of at least $5,000, as Tay had committed the act multiple times.
He said probation would not be suitable as Tay committed the offences after turning 21.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Jeffrey Soh said Tay was under an "immense level of stress" when he committed the offences.
He described Tay's mother as a "fearsome parent" who kept "lambasting him for his failure to do well at the polytechnic".
In a declaration to the court, Tay's father said his wife was quarrelsome and violent, and had allegedly tried to burn down their home, among other things.
Tay's father was in court yesterday, but not his mother.
When District Judge Samuel Chua asked why his mother was not there, Tay said she was attending to important matters.
Judge Chua asked: "What other matters are more important than to be with her son?"
Tay paused before replying: "Her work."
For forgery, Tay could have been jailed for up to four years or fined, or both.
New platform can detect forged documents
It is much tougher now to submit forged certificates and transcripts after a blockchain-based platform known as OpenCerts was introduced this year to allow companies and institutions to detect bogus transcripts for free.
It was developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) , Ministry of Education, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and SkillsFuture Singapore.
Anyone from students to employers can use it to verify academic transcripts.
GovTech told The New Paper yesterday: "OpenCerts helps detects fakes by allowing employers to verify the authenticity of the transcript on Opencerts.io.
"This involves checks on tampering, issuance, the issuer of the certificate, and that the certificate has not been revoked," the agency added.