Jail for man who told vendors to mark up quotations, pocketing $877k

PHOTO: Pexels

SINGAPORE – A senior executive at a medical equipment manufacturer conspired with three others to dupe the firm into paying more than $7.5 million in deals that led to $877,000 in losses.

On Thursday (Jan 26), Chua Poh Meng was sentenced to 38 months' jail for offences he committed between January 2014 and April 2016 while working for Biosensors Interventional Technologies.

The 53-year-old had pleaded guilty to two cheating charges in December 2022 involving more than $6 million.

Six other charges, including a third cheating charge linked to the remaining amount, was taken into consideration during his sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Victoria Ting and Bryan Wong said in court documents that Chua had joined Biosensors in 2012 as a global IT manager before he received a promotion and became an associate director three years later.

He reported to the director of the firm's IT department, Seow Hock Siew.

At the time of the offences, Chua was acquainted with Tan Tiong Meng, a director at electronic payment company Ubiqpay, and Chew Sheng, a director at JCS Consultancy, which deals with IT-related matters.

Both Ubiqpay and JCS were Biosensors' vendors at the time.

The prosecutors said: "The operative deception was the dishonest concealment from Biosensors of the fact that Seow and/or (Chua) would gain profits from its payments to Ubiqpay and JCS.

"The profit was derived through Tan and Chew marking up the amounts in the quotations they submitted to Biosensors in Ubiqpay's and JCS' names."

The quotations were approved by Biosensors, which issued payments to Ubiqpay and JCS based on the marked-up invoices, DPP Ting and DPP Wong added.

According to court documents, there were 31 such invoices that resulted in Biosensors paying a total of $5,650,100 to Ubiqpay and 15 invoices that caused Biosensors to deliver $1,876,900 to JCS.

As a result of the schemes, Biosensors was duped into paying a total of $7,527,000 to Ubiqpay and JCS, suffering a loss of $877,000, the amount of the mark-ups.

The DPPs said that Chua received around $40,000 in total from Seow. Chua has since repaid this amount to Biosensors.

Urging the court to sentence Chua to at least three years and four months' jail, the prosecutors said previously: "The main aggravating factor in the present case is the large amount of money involved."

They also said that for financial and property offences, the sentence is heavier the greater the economic value involved.

The case involving Seow is still pending, while Tan and Chew had been dealt with in court earlier.

For each count of cheating, Chua could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

ALSO READ: CEO's personal assistant jailed for transferring over $350,000 from firm to her bank accounts

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.