Trainer admits to scamming WDA through upgrading scheme
A training consultant who conspired with others to scam the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) of about $73,000 was convicted last Friday.
Serene Loh Peh Wen, 47, an independent training consultant engaged by Loyal Reliance and Image Institute of Learning and Development, admitted to five counts of cheating, having received a commission of about $22,000 from the scam. Another eight charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.
The WDA approved the two companies as training providers under the Funding for Employer-based Training Scheme, which aims to encourage firms to upgrade workers' skills by defraying costs. Under the scheme, companies may apply for training grants to fund participation in courses run by approved training providers.
Yoke Mah Plasterceil, a company dealing in items such as cement and plaster, was one of Loh's clients under her training portfolio.
Between March 2014 and May 2015, Loh, along with fellow trainer Sebastian Chen Yuren, 34, and Yoke Mah's operations manager, Grace Siew Hoong Hua, 45, made 13 successful fraudulent claims which resulted in a payout of $72,900 from WDA.
The claims involved submissions for course fee grants and absentee payroll grants under the WDA scheme. However, the claims were for 13 non-existent courses supposedly conducted for Yoke Mah.
Two other trainers, Patrick Ho Kok Wing, 56, and Marsh Terranova Tiruchellam, 52, were also roped into the scam. Chen and Loh would inform the two other trainers of confirmed training dates and get them to block out the Yoke Mah training dates on their calendars.
After the course dates had passed, the trainers would submit their claims to Loyal Reliance for the purported, but not conducted, training for Yoke Mah. Loh received about $21,800 in commission from the scam.
The offences came to light after a senior manager at WDA reported to the Commercial Affairs Department on Oct 30, 2015, that Yoke Mah and Loyal Reliance had submitted false information to WDA.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Phua told the court that Loh had not made any restitution to date.
Loh is expected to be back in court on Thursday for sentencing.