Woman Sentenced to 4.5 Years in Prison for Defrauding $ 1.8 Million Banks Courts & Crime News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – A 50-year-old woman was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison on Wednesday (March 3) for deceiving several banks into disbursing about $ 1.8 million in loans.

Tan You Jia pleaded guilty to two counts of corruption and four counts of conspiracy to deceive with a 51-year-old man, Lee Beng Yong, for a total amount of more than $ 700,000.

During his sentencing, District Senior Judge Toh Han Li considered 10 other counts related to cheating, including those involving the remaining amount, and three counts of corruption.

All violations took place between 2014 and 2015.

Court documents indicate that between 2012 and 2013, Tan and Lee got to know each other.

Lee then agreed to work for Tan at his company, which involved applying for installment loans on behalf of companies.

These loans are offered by financial institutions, including banks, to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for their business activities.

As part of the loan application, an SME must give certain documents to the account managers of the financial institution, in particular the company’s bank statements for the last six months.

Deputy Attorney General Haniza Abnass said Tan and Lee would be looking for individuals to act as company directors and apply for the loans.

“In exchange for agreeing to be registered as company directors, these people were usually promised a portion of the funds disbursed from loan applications,” the DPP said.

The duo knew that the appointed directors were simply candidates who did not run the companies and, in most cases, financially unable to secure the loans, according to court documents.

After an individual agreed to the arrangement, Lee arranged for a “storage business” to be purchased from a corporate secretarial service provider.

A “plateau business” is a business that has no commercial activity and can be sold to people who want to start a business without going through the process of starting a new business.

The court heard that Lee also helped Tan rent office space so that all correspondence for the storage company could be forwarded to such an address.

With the business purchased and the person appointed to its head, Tan or Lee arranged for it to apply for a business installment loan from one of three financial institutions: DBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Maybank.

Once the loan was paid into the company’s bank account, Lee would arrange for the appointed manager to withdraw most of the funds in cash.

“The investigations failed to trace the movement of funds after the withdrawal,” said DPP Haniza.

It was later revealed that the bank statements presented in support of the loan applications were forged.

Court documents say the individuals who forged and physically submitted the bank statements remain unknown.

Tan and Lee also paid $ 10,500 in bribes to two account managers from Maybank and StanChart as a reward for processing loan applications, the court said.

DPP Haniza said about $ 1.8 million in loans were approved, with banks ultimately suffering losses of about $ 1.5 million in total.

DBS and StanChart staff then wrote police reports in 2015 claiming to have received forged bank statements from various companies relating to loans.

The court learned that no compensation had been paid so far.

Lee and the appointed directors will be treated separately.

DPP Haniza urged the court to jail Tan for at least five years, saying she was “one of the main drivers” of the ruse and had recruited Lee to carry out her instructions.

Pleading for leniency, Tan said in mitigation that most of the money was taken by Lee.

The judge backdated her prison sentence to July 11, 2019, when she was remanded in custody.

For each cheating-related offense, Tan could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

She could also have been jailed for up to five years or fined up to $ 100,000, or both, for each of the bribery charges.

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