Man fined after submitting forged poly certificates as he was 'desperate' to gain a place at university

Kieffer Tay Kai Xian was fined $5,500 after pleading guilty to a forgery charge.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A man repeatedly submitted forged polytechnic certificates to the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) University - which was later renamed Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) - as he wanted to gain a place to study there.

Singaporean Kieffer Tay Kai Xian, 24, was fined $5,500 on Thursday (Dec 19) after pleading guilty to a forgery charge.

Three other similar charges were considered during sentencing.

The court heard that Tay was so "desperate" to study finance at SIM University that he altered his Temasek Polytechnic academic transcript by editing his cumulative grade point average from 1.76 to 2.76.

He thought that doing so would increase his chances of gaining admission into the university.

Around September 2016, he submitted the forged transcript in his application. The university's management conducted a check and rejected his application after finding out that the transcript had been doctored.

Undeterred, Tay continued committing similar offences the following year, when SIM University was renamed SUSS and became an autonomous university under the Ministry of Education.

An employee at SUSS lodged a police report on March 1 this year.

On Thursday, Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren urged District Judge Samuel Chua to sentence Tay to a fine of at least $5,000.

He said: "This is a serious offence as it undermines the integrity of the admissions process for local universities. Despite the school rejecting him the first time after realising the transcript was doctored, the accused was undeterred and continued applying to the same university.

"He was determined to study in a university but unfortunately, his determination was misplaced and was directed at criminal means of gaining a place in the university."

Defence lawyer Jeffrey Soh said that Tay is an only child and he "genuinely regrets" his actions.

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The lawyer added: "The father is a patient and very loving parent. The mother, however, is a fearsome parent, fraught with a personality that is impatient and abusive to him and his father.

"Kieffer was under such a huge degree of pressure from his mother to get into a respectable university that he committed the said offences."

For forgery, Tay could have been jailed for up to four years and fined.

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