Errant licensed moneylender fined $114,000

SINGAPORE - An errant moneylender has been fined $114,00 after investigations revealed that he committed offences which warranted prosecution.

The Registry of Moneylenders, a division of the Insolvency and Public Trustee's Office, brought charges in the Subordinate Courts on March 4 against Lee Kong Meng, the sole proprietor of moneylending business Primacy Management Services.

Primacy Management Services held a moneylending licence from May 2, 2008 to May 1, 2012, which was not renewed after it expired.

Lee pleaded guilty in the Subordinate Courts today and was convicted on 23 out of 78 charges for these offences:

- One charge relates to a breach under Section 10(13) of the Moneylenders Act for carrying on the business of moneylending at a place of business without the approval of the Registrar.

- Nine charges relate to breaches under Section 17(1)(a) of the Moneylenders Act for granting loans without the borrowers having first applied to the licensee in writing for the loans.

- Two charges relate to breaches under Section 21(1) of the Moneylenders Act for failure to supply statement of accounts to borrowers.

- One charge relates to a breach under Section 24(1)(c) of the Moneylenders Act for failure to keep loan documents as prescribed.

- Four charges relate to breaches under Section 24(7) of the Moneylenders Act for recklessly furnishing false information to the Registrar.

- Three charges relate to breaches under Rule 19(1) of the Moneylenders Rules for granting unsecured loans exceeding the prescribed limit of $3,000 to Singapore borrowers with annual income below $20,000.

- One charge relates to a breach under Rule 20(1)(a) of the Moneylenders Rules for granting an unsecured loan to a Singapore borrower with an annual income of at least $30,000 but less than $120,000, and thereby causing the outstanding loan amount to exceed the prescribed limit of four months of the borrower's income.

- Two charges relate to breaches under Rule 20(1)(b) of the Moneylenders Rules for granting unsecured loans to a Singapore borrower with an annual income of at least $20,000 but less than $30,000, and thereby causing the outstanding loan amount to exceed the prescribed limit of two months of the borrower's income.

- The remaining 55 charges were taken into consideration by the Court for the purposes of sentencing.

Tan was sentenced in the Subordinate Courts to a fine of $114,000 (in default 37 weeks and eight days' imprisonment). Thirteen licensed moneylenders have been convicted and fined since 2011.

The Registry carries out regular inspections of licensed moneylenders. Anyone found guilty of breaching moneylending laws can have their licences suspended or revoked, have their security deposites forfeited, or be issued with warnings and prosecuted.

Those convicted of breaches of the Moneylenders Act and Rules face a fine of up to $40,000 and/or an imprisonment term of up to two years on each charge.

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