Surgeon fined $30k for hiding earnings

Tay admitted to three charges of dishonestly misappropriating a total of $204,325 in 2006.

SINGAPORE - An eye surgeon who hid nearly $450,000 in earnings he was making elsewhere from his employer was fined $30,000 on Wednesday.

Former national swimmer Marc Tay Tze-Hsin, 53, worked as consultant for Pacific Healthcare Specialist Services and was also a director.

In 2005, he agreed to become a visiting consultant for Lasik Surgery Clinic, with the knowledge of his fellow directors at Pacific.

He entered into an agreement on behalf of Pacific for Lasik to pay Pacific the fees for surgery he performed at Lasik. However, Pacific did not know that he had another agreement with Lasik to be paid separate fees, which amounted to more than $445,000.

After a tip-off, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau seized $477,000 from Tay, who had kept the money in his clinic. Full restitution was made shortly after the investigation began.

Tay admitted to three charges of dishonestly misappropriating a total of $204,325 in 2006, and was fined $10,000 on each charge.

For failing to declare to fellow directors at Pacific that he had agreed with Lasik to be paid personally for his services, which is a breach of his contract terms and an offence under the Companies Act, he was fined another $2,000.

Eight other charges were taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kung Yong Jin said that under the terms of his employment with Pacific, Tay was supposed to work full-time for the company and to pay all income he generated to it.

Tay's lawyer Lee Teck Leng said his client had made personal sacrifices in earning the fees as a substantial part of the work was done outside standard office hours.

Chief District Judge See Kee Oon said the facts of the case were "highly unusual".

"In his own words, he 'did not feel good about the money'," said the judge. "It would appear that he had recognised all along that the money was tainted and his conscience would not permit him to gain from its use."

Tay could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined on each charge of dishonest misappropriation.

elena@sph.com.sg

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