Poh Heng Jewellery fined SG$9,000 for transaction linked to SkillsFuture scam

Singapore-based jewellery company Poh Heng Jewellery has been fined SG$9,000 for not reporting a cash transaction of over SG$20,000, according to Channel NewsAsia (CNA). This comes as the transactor was found to be an operative involved in a 2017 SkillsFuture scam which amounted to SG$39.9 million.

CNA reported that Poh Heng Jewellery issued eight separate receipts for purchased items that amounted to SG$28,078. Under the current law, a dealer in precious stones or precious metals is required to submit a report when a cash transaction of over SG$20,000 is conducted. Poh Heng, however, did not submit a report. 

In a statement to Marketing, Chng Hwee Siang, managing director of Poh Heng Jewellery, said the brand takes responsibility for the oversight in cash transaction reporting. Chng also said that Poh Heng Jewellery regularly reviews its existing in-house regulatory measures. "Since this incident we have become more vigilant, and are currently spearheading a series of best practices efforts to ensure thorough review and audits of our standard operating procedures and processes for all staff and branch managers," she added.

According to the Singapore Police Force, the cash transaction reporting requirement is said to be enacted in law to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, and other criminal activity. It is added that any person who fails to submit a report may be liable to a fine of up to SG$20,000, imprisonment of up to two years, or both. 

The scam linked to Poh Heng's cash transaction was one committed in 2017, where a syndicate submitted 8,386 fraudulent course fee grant applications and corresponding claims to SkillsFuture Singapore, under the pretense of three training providers and six applicant firms. According to CNA, an amount of SG$39.9 million was disbursed to the six firms and three training providers.

The SkillsFuture scam was detected at end of October 2017, and which led SkillsFuture Singapore to immediately suspend all payments of grants to the nine business entities and reported the case to the police. According to media reports, SkillsFuture Singapore has since stepped up in its processes, which includes implementing fraud analytics and conducting a comprehensive review of the system.

Earlier in March, Poh Heng was also involved in an embezzlement case. According to CNA, a supervisor who has worked at Poh Heng for more than 30 years was found to have pocketed 139 pieces of jewellery, which was approximately valued at SG$98,000. The supervisor oversaw the repairing and servicing of jewellery and reportedly pawned pieces of jewellery to fund his gambling habit. It is added that upon discovery, Poh Heng filed a police report and redeemed the pawned jewellery.

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