Two men, aged 20 and 36, were charged in court on 2 October 2020 for separate cases of cheating and/or forgery offences involving the COVID-19 Support Grant (“CSG”) and the Temporary Relief Fund (“TRF”). The CSG and TRF were launched to provide financial support to Singaporeans affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, and are administered by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (“MSF”).
The 20-year-old man was charged for cheating, and attempting to cheat MSF into disbursing grants for eight TRF applications by making false income declarations. Two of these applications were made in his name while the remaining six were made in the names of his parents and friends. MSF approved five of these applications and disbursed $2,500 to him. In addition, he has been charged for (i) cheating a friend into providing his SingPass details which was used to apply for the TRF, and (ii) engaging in unlawful remote gambling.
The 36-year-old man was charged for cheating MSF into disbursing the TRF grant, and attempting to cheat MSF into disbursing the CSG grant. He was alleged to have falsely declared his employment status in both applications. In addition, he has been charged for forging a retrenchment letter to support his false declarations in both applications and forging a payslip for his CSG application. MSF approved the TRF application and disbursed a $500 payout, but did not approve the CSG application.
If convicted, the two men face the following punishments:
- a) For each charge of cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code, imprisonment of up to 10 years and a possible fine;
- b) For each charge of forgery for the purpose of cheating under Section 468 of the Penal Code, imprisonment of up to 10 years and a possible fine; and/or
- c) For the charge of unlawful remote gambling under Section 8 of the Remote Gambling Act, imprisonment of up to 6 months and a possible fine.
The Police take a serious view against any person involved in dishonest or fraudulent conduct pertaining to applications for Government grants. Offenders will be dealt with severely in accordance with the law.
Source: Singapore Police Force