Singapore

Probation for NSF who used bogus grant applications to cheat ministry

A full-time national serviceman (NSF) was sentenced to 18 months' probation yesterday for duping the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) of $2,500 from the Temporary Relief Fund (TRF).

The court heard that Yee Jia Hao, 20, had submitted eight bogus applications using his mobile number for the TRF, a one-off interim assistance scheme to help those who had lost their jobs or a substantial portion of their income due to Covid-19. The fund is administered by MSF and the People's Association.

Five of the applications were approved, and $2,500 was paid out to Yee's bank account. He used the money to gamble and has not made restitution.

COMMUNITY SERVICE

As part of his probation, he must remain indoors from 10pm to 6am every day, perform 60 hours of community service and attend a gambling-relapse prevention programme.

His parents and brother were bonded a total of $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.

Yee pleaded guilty last year to three counts of cheating involving $1,500 and one count of attempted cheating.

The court heard that Yee first accessed the online TRF portal using his Singpass credentials on April 17 last year and falsely declared he had lost at least 30 per cent of his personal income due to the outbreak.

Among other things, an applicant must have a household income of up to $10,000 or earn up to $3,100 a month before losing his job.

He must also be retrenched or suffer at least a 30 per cent loss of income due to the pandemic.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Bin said Yee was aware he did not meet the eligibility criteria.

Yee was caught after an MSF officer lodged a police report on May 27 last year.

For each count of cheating, Yee could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined. - THE STRAITS TIMES

COURT & CRIME