Former celebrity couple charged with breaching employment laws
Twelve Cupcakes founders Daniel Ong and Jaime Teo face 24 charges each involving eight foreign workers
Twelve Cupcakes founders Daniel Ong and his former wife Jaime Teo were charged in court yesterday for breaching employment laws.
Ong, 45, a former radio DJ who arrived in court with his wife Fay Tan, was slapped with 24 charges involving eight foreign employees under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, including failing to pay the employees on time.
Teo, 43, a former model who was crowned Miss Universe Singapore in 2001, faces the same charges.
The pair, who tied the knot in 2007 and got divorced in 2016, set up the bakery chain in 2011.
A few months after the divorce, they sold the business to Indian tea company Dhunseri Group for $2.5 million.
The pair are accused of allowing the chain to underpay or fail to pay within a fixed time the eight employees, whose salaries were set between $2,000 and $2,600 a month, from 2013 to 2016.
There were also instances of some workers who did not receive any income for periods between 2012 and 2013.
Ong's case was granted an adjournment of four weeks to Jan 26 after his lawyer, Mr Kalaithasan Karuppaya of Regent Law, told the court he had just been briefed on the case.
Teo's lawyer, Ms Diana Ngiam of Quahe Woo & Palmer, said her client intended to plead guilty and was grateful the prosecution would be amending the charges to reflect Teo's negligence in the matter, as opposed to intentional breaches.
Teo's case has also been adjourned to Jan 26.
For each charge, an offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $10,000.
Earlier this month, Twelve Cupcakes, under its new ownership, pleaded guilty to 15 charges of underpaying seven employees in 2017 and 2018.
The employees were paid about $1,400 to $2,050 by the company, as opposed to their fixed monthly salaries ranging from $2,200 to $2,600.
The firm had initially credited the reduced salaries to the employees' bank accounts.
Then, from May 2018, it paid the workers their full salaries but told them to return a portion of the salary in cash to the company.
In urging the court to impose a fine of $127,000, Ministry of Manpower prosecutor Maximilian Chew said the company had done this to avoid detection by concealing a paper trail of its offences.
Twelve Cupcakes is expected to be sentenced next year.