Youth admits he fraudulently claimed Covid-19 relief money
A full-time national serviceman (NSF) used his own personal details, and that of his father and his friends, to make claims for a government grant meant for those financially affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yee Jia Hao, 20, who pocketed a total of $2,500 from the Temporary Relief Fund (TRF), pleaded guilty yesterday to three charges of cheating and one charge of attempted cheating.
Five other cheating-related charges and one remote gambling charge were taken into consideration.
The TRF is administered by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the People's Association.
The fund is meant for those who have lost their jobs or experienced at least a 30 per cent loss in personal income due to Covid-19.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Bin said Yee applied for the TRF on April 17 via his SingPass account knowing he was ineligible for it.
His application was accepted and he received $500 three days later.
On April 21, Yee asked his father for his SingPass details, claiming he would help the older man apply for a government grant.
His father had not suffered income loss during the pandemic.
On April 23, Yee contacted his friend, a 21-year-old fellow NSF, who he felt was easy to cheat.
Yee asked him to provide his SingPass details, saying he would help him apply for a SkillsFuture course.
On both occasions, Yee appended his own PayNow bank account details in the applications and successfully received moey, whiich he used to gamble.
Later, another friend of Yee's attempted to make a fraudulent claim but it was rejected. Claiming to want to help, Yee asked for his friend's SingPass details and used his own PayNow account in the application.
MSF detected the fraudulent claim and rejected it.
DPP Bin urged Judge Seah Chi-Ling to call for both a probation and a reformative training suitability report, to which the judge agreed.
DPP Bin added that general deterrence is also a relevant sentencing consideration as the TRF was not "free money" to be taken at one's whim and fancy.
Yee is in remand and will be sentenced on Dec 15.