Surgeon who hid nearly $450k suspended for 3 mths

A 55-year-old eye surgeon, who hid nearly $450,000 in extra earnings from his employer, has been suspended for three months.

Marc Tay Tze-Hsin, a former national swimmer, worked as a consultant for Pacific Healthcare Specialist Services (PHSS) and was also a director.

Under an agreement, he was to hand over all generated income to PHSS, which would pay him an annual gross remuneration of $396,000, and some bonuses.

In 2005, he agreed to become a visiting consultant for The Lasik Surgery Clinic (LSC), with the knowledge of his fellow PHSS directors.

He entered into an agreement on behalf of PHSS for LSC to pay PHSS the fees for surgery he performed at LSC.

But between December 2005 and December 2006, LSC paid Dr Tay separate fees that were concealed from PHSS. The total amount was $445,874. He made full restitution in February 2009.

At a Singapore Medical Council (SMC) disciplinary tribunal inquiry on Feb 3, he pleaded guilty to three charges.

In mitigation, his lawyer said the matter was "essentially a civil case involving a breach of Dr Tay's employment contract with PHSS".

However, the tribunal said, Dr Tay's offences were serious and "could not be characterised as a mere breach of an employment contract".

The concealment of the payments received from LSC was made at the expense of PHSS.

The amount involved was substantial.

The tribunal said "any sentence short of a suspension would not adequately reflect the gravity of Dr Tay's offending conduct, which involved dishonesty".

Dr Tay was censured and required to give an undertaking to the SMC that he would not engage in the same or similar conduct again.

He was also ordered to pay the costs of the inquiry as well as the costs related to it.

His three-month suspension, the minimum suspension period handed out by the SMC, took effect on April 25 and will run to July 24.

In February 2014, Dr Tay was convicted in the State Courts - then known as the Subordinate Courts - of dishonest misappropriation, and was fined $30,000. The amount in the proceeded charges was $204,325.

He was also fined $2,000 for breaching the Companies Act.

Dr Tay is now with LSC.

When contacted, he declined comment.

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Marc Tay was a swimmer of Anglo Chinese Junior College. Photo: The Straits Times