Woman gets 16 months' jail for fraudulent Covid-19 grant claim, among other crimes, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Woman gets 16 months' jail for fraudulent Covid-19 grant claim, among other crimes

In an attempt to claim money from the Covid-19 Support Grant, a 48-year-old administrative officer forged a termination letter from the condominium she worked at.

Rajagopal Malini also took cash given to her by residents for their maintenance fees.

Separately, in September last year, she went on a shopping spree with her children and their friends using a stolen credit card.

For her spate of offences that occurred between July and September last year, Rajagopal was sentenced to 16 months' jail on Friday (Dec 10), with District Judge Marvin Bay noting that her attempt to cheat the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) would have been at expense of taxpayers' money.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stacey Fernandez told the court that Rajagopal's forged letter, dated Aug 1, 2020, bore the Euphony Gardens condominium letterhead as she had access to the letterhead on her office computer, which she used to write notices and correspondences with the condo's residents.

She was employed at the time by Colliers International Consultancy & Valuation, which was managing Euphony Gardens.

On the online application for the grant, she used a fake name for the contact person and provided her own office number in case someone called to verify the details.

Her forgery was discovered when the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) called the condominium manager and he informed them that the contents of the termination letter were false.

The condominium manager also made a police report in October saying that Rajagopal had pocketed cash she was tasked to collect for the condominium's Management Corporation Strata Title fees.

She took more than $4,000 in total and was found out when a resident received a notice that he failed to make payment even though he had handed it to Rajagopal.

She, along with her children and their friends, also bought more than $13,500 worth of items including mobile phones and gift cards using a stolen credit card.

The card had been taken from the in-vehicle unit of a motorcycle by her son's friends - two boys, aged 13 and 14.

Rajagopal, who knew the card belonged to someone else, agreed to see if it would work.

She went to the 7-Eleven near Block 106 Hougang Ave 1 with her daughters and her children's friends and bought items including cigarettes, liquor and Zalora gift cards totalling $1,142.20.

She was the only adult in the group, which then went to Nex for a shopping spree where they spent about $12,400 at stores including Sephora, Planet Telcoms and G-Shock Casio on mobile phones, watches and shoes, among other things.

Rajagopal was represented by lawyer Bozy Lu, who said her client went on the illicit shopping spree because she wanted to "shower her children with love".

The court heard that her family was not well off and she wanted to buy things for herself and her family.

Rajagopal's children and their friends cannot be named as they are under 18 years of age.