SINGAPORE: A 50-year-old former security guard has become the latest individual linked to a $39.9mil (RM122mil) SkillsFuture scam to be convicted.Nathan Muniandy, a Malaysian national, helped launder S$3.15mil (RM96.4mil) of the proceeds from the scam targeted at SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), a statutory board set up to promote lifelong learning.The scam was perpetrated by a criminal syndicate involving multiple individuals.
Nathan pleaded guilty to six charges of laundering S$900,000 (RM2.7mil) of the $3.15mil, and was sentenced to jail for three years and three months on Wednesday.
Fifteen other similar charges involving the remaining amount were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Under SSG’s Course Grant Scheme, a Singapore business entity that sends its employees to attend skills training courses with registered training providers can apply to SSG for subsidies on such courses, subject to certain conditions being met.The subsidies may be paid to either the business entity or the training provider, depending on the method of claim used.
The criminal syndicate used nine dormant Singapore-registered entities in the scam.
The nine entities submitted 8,386 fraudulent applications and 8,391 claims to SSG between May and October 2017, resulting in SSG paying about S$39.9mil (RM122.26mil) to the entities.
According to court documents, Nathan befriended Vincent Peter, a member of the syndicate, in 2014.
On Oct 28,2017, Peter offered to pay Nathan money in return for encashing cash cheques and since the Malaysian national had financial problems then, he took up the offer.The two men then travelled to various branches of two banks, Maybank and OCBC, in Singapore for the next four days.
At each bank branch, Peter handed Nathan cash cheques and told him to encash them.
He also told Nathan to say he was an employee of the respective company issuing the cheques if he was questioned by bank officers.
Nathan subsequently passed the cash he received after encashing the cheques to Peter.
Court documents stated that Nathan knew nothing about the source of the encashed funds or the companies issuing the cash cheques.
Nathan is not the first person to be convicted after helping Vincent encash cash cheques in return for money.
Manickam Pragasam, a former cleaner, had also assisted Peter in laundering over S$1mil (RM3mil) of the scam proceeds.
He was sentenced to two years and nine months’ jail on June 4. — The Straits Times/ANN