Back with new scam, but jailed this time


He had fled to Thailand with nearly $1 million after defrauding a company in 2012.

But 11/2 years later, Tan Yong Hai was back on a fake identity to try and cheat another firm out of $3.6 million.

But the plot failed, and the 31-year-old was yesterday jailed for nine years and three months after pleading guilty to eight charges involving forgery, false representation and removing property from Singapore. Thirteen other charges were taken into consideration.

He roped in his ex-schoolmate Lau Tien Chen, 31, and made use of his name and bank account to deposit a forged Maybank cheque for almost $2 million, and two doctored United Overseas Bank cheques totalling $1.6 million.

The accomplice, who was yesterday sentenced to six years in jail for using forged cheques as genuine, withdrew $202,000 and handed it over to Tan.

When Lau went to withdraw the balance of $1.4 million from his Standard Chartered Bank account at the Battery Road office, he was arrested. Tan was nabbed at Changi Airport when he tried to leave for Thailand.

The duo had pleaded guilty last month.

The court heard that when Tan was a facility executive with Sodexo Singapore, he forged nine lease agreements.

He cheated Invensys Process System at Changi Business Park, where he was attached, of $1.42 million over a two-year period.

He used his relatives and friends as landlords and deceived Invensys into paying rents for fictitious rental apartments at a condominium in Tanah Merah to house expatriate engineers working in Singapore.

When he realised his forgeries were being investigated, he began to forge company cheques. Before running off to Bangkok on Feb 28, 2012, he hid $950,000 in between the pages of hard cover books packed into his luggage.

While in Bangkok, he asked Lau to help him get a job as an accounts assistant.

He returned to Singapore in early August 2013 and lied in his disembarkation/embarkation card that he had never used a passport under a different name to enter Singapore.

While working as an accounts assistant with SoilBuild Group Holdings, he persuaded Lau to help him carry out his plan to "loot'' money from the company and escape to Thailand for a "good life".

Tan subsequently made a cheque for $1.99 million in favour of Lau by forging the signatures needed from SB Procurement, a subsidiary of SoilBuild.

Maybank suspected the cheque to be forged and did not honour it after SoilBuild confirmed the forgery. By then, Tan was found missing from his workstation.

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