Bankrupt jailed for filing false statements

Bankrupt jailed for filing false statements

For four years, a bankrupt filed false statements to the Official Assignee (OA), declaring that he was spending $1,200 a month on his mother's medical expenses.

It was only after the OA asked Tan Beng Chua, 55, for documentary proof in 2010 that he came clean - his mother had in fact died in 2006.

Tan's four-week jail term for making false statements to the OA was upheld in May by the High Court, which turned down his appeal for a lighter sentence.

Judicial Commissioner See Kee Oon, in his written grounds published this week on why he dismissed Tan's appeal, said Tan's conduct showed a lack of a genuine desire to cooperate fully with the OA. The OA is a public servant who manages a bankrupt's assets and distributes them to his creditors.

Tan, an operations supervisor in an oil refinery company, was made bankrupt in January 2004.

As a bankrupt, he was legally obliged to submit periodic accounts of his income and expenses to the OA. Income not spent on necessary expenses for himself and his family was required to be handed over to the OA.

Tan said in his mitigation plea to the district court that his accounts had been submitted by a third party.

After he was declared bankrupt, he received fliers in his mailbox offering services to file income and expenditure statements on his behalf. He said he hired one "Eddie" from Guardian Consultants to file his statements electronically using his SingPass.

Tan said he did not receive copies of his statements from Eddie. When his mother died in January 2006, Tan claimed he had told Eddie about her death. Between May 2006 and February 2010, Tan - through Eddie - submitted 14 income and expenditure statements to the OA, falsely declaring that he spent $1,200 a month on her medical expenses.

He pleaded guilty last year to four charges of making false statements to the OA. Another 10 charges were taken into consideration.

This article was first published on July 11, 2014.
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