Residents’ Network ex-chairman cheated group of over $10,000, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Residents’ Network ex-chairman cheated group of over $10,000

He was the chairman of the Woodlands Zone 8 Residents’ Network (RN) when he deceived two of the group’s office-bearers multiple times in committing cheating offences involving more than $10,800.

Among other things, Teo Kum Weng duped then vice-chairman Kian Too Chong and then treasurer Sivanesan Saminathan into approving multiple payment claims.

Teo, 60, made the bogus claims for purported reimbursements for goods and services because he was facing financial difficulties at the time.

He was sentenced to seven months’ jail on Monday after pleading guilty to five counts of cheating.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the People’s Association said that it terminated Teo’s services as a grassroots volunteer in November 2021. 

In 2018, Teo told the other members of the RN that a cleaner the group had engaged at $300 per month was not doing a good job.

He asked the group to engage one Madam Xiang Jing Jing to perform the job at $280 per month, without telling them that she was his wife.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gan Ee Kiat said: “He was afraid that the RN would become aware of his conflict of interest, which would make it more difficult for their engagement of Madam Xiang’s cleaning services.

“The accused also gave a false address to the RN as Madam Xiang’s address because he knew that it was not right for (her) to be engaged by the RN without any declaration of her relationship to him.”

As a result, the RN engaged Madam Xiang’s services. The unsuspecting Mr Sivanesan authorised payments totalling nearly $4,200 to her between December 2019 and November 2020.

Teo also owned a firm called TKW that performed maintenance, repair and painting work. He did not tell the other RN members he was the firm’s owner when the group engaged its services.

DPP Gan told the court: “He also sought to further conceal his ownership of TKW to members of the RN by using a variety of signatures, including one which read ‘Shirley’, on invoices issued by TKW.

“Had the accused disclosed... his ownership of TKW to members of the RN... TKW would not have been engaged to render services to the RN.”

Between December 2019 and December 2020, Teo dishonestly induced Mr Kian and Mr Sivanesan to authorise payments totalling $2,840 to TKW.

He also made bogus payment claims over purported reimbursements for purchases and services, including air-conditioning servicing.

Teo made such claims on multiple occasions between July 2020 and August 2021. As a result, Mr Kian and Mr Sivanesan were duped into approving payments totalling some $3,800.

The pair had trusted the veracity of Teo’s payment claims, and did not inquire further into the claims beyond ensuring the amount in the supporting documents he provided tallied with the amount to be disbursed to him, said DPP Gan.

Teo’s offences came to light after an officer from the director’s office of Sembawang GRC conducted a review of the RN’s finances.

The police were alerted on Nov 30, 2021, after several financial irregularities were discovered.

Teo’s bail has been set at $15,000, and he is expected to surrender himself at the State Courts on Feb 20 to begin serving his sentence.

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