SINGAPORE — A supervisor of a registered charity was jailed four months on Wednesday (14 October) for cheating the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) of its subsidies.
Daljit Kaur Yinder Singh, 50, had conspired with Welcare Student Care Centre’s owner and president Gerard Michael to defraud a government subsidy scheme by failing to submit withdrawal forms for 12 students and falsifying their attendance at the centre. The centre had provided after-school daycare to primary-school children receiving subsidies.
Daljit, who was the centre’s supervisor from 2002 to 2015, also lied to social services in order to help Gerard’s mother apply for ComCare assistance, even though she did not qualify.
The Singaporean pleaded guilty to one charge each of cheating, falsification of documents and of providing false information to a public servant. Another two charges of a similar nature were taken into consideration for sentencing.
Gerard will be claiming trial, with Daljit indicating that she will be a prosecution witness against him.
Continued to receive subsidies for students who dropped out
Some of the students who attended Welcare were under the Student Care Fee Assistance (SCFA) scheme, a government subsidy to students who belonged to families with certain income and employment conditions.
The child would be required to attend the student care centre, which was registered with the MSF, for at least half of the month. Subsidies would be paid directly to the centre’s bank account every month.
If students withdrew, their parents had to inform the student care centre. The centre would then submit a withdrawal form to MSF, which would then stop disbursing subsidies.
When 12 children withdrew from Welcare in 2015, their parents informed Daljit accordingly. Daljit also informed Gerard, but the latter did not instruct for withdrawal forms to be submitted. Daljit subsequently did not submit the forms.
Both Gerard and Daljit had known that, by not submitting the forms, MSF would continue to disburse subsidies to Welcare. In such a manner, the centre received $13,630 in subsidies between 1 January and 31 May 2015.
Under Gerard’s instructions, Daljit also falsified attendance books on a monthly basis to ensure that the children under the SCFA scheme would achieve a minimum 50 per cent of attendance each month, in order to qualify for the subsidies that would be disbursed to Welcare.
The falsified attendance books showed that the 12 children were still attending Welcare despite their withdrawal between 1 January and 31 May 2015.
On 19 November 2015, the MSF conducted an audit on Welcare and the SCFA applications they had made. During the audit, Welfare provided the falsified attendance books.
Daljit helped Gerard’s mother cheat MSF
Separately, Gerard instructed Daljit to apply for ComCare assistance for his mother. ComCare is a government financial assistance scheme extended to Singaporeans and permanent residents with a monthly household income of $1,900 and below, or a per capita income of $650 and below. The scheme was also under the MSF.
Gerard’s mother was then employed as a caretaker with Welcare and was paid a monthly salary of $350. She also received pocket money from Gerard and his sister.
However, Gerard instructed Daljit to inform social service officers that his mother was unemployed and left without financial support from her children, in order to qualify for ComCare assistance.
On 16 January 2015, Daljit carried out Gerard’s instruction and lied to an MSF officer. MSF eventually approved the mother’s ComCare assistance application and assisted her to pay for her conservancy charges of $28 a month, and rental of $70 a month, for half a year.
MSF also credited $340 per month into the mother’s bank account during this period and provided her with a medical assistance card to be used at the polyclinic.
Welcare made more than $48k in wrongful claims
In total, Welcare made $48,280 in wrongful SCFA claims between 2014 and 2016. The amount of loss caused to MSF arising from Daljit’s conspiracy with Gerard is $29,410.
Welcare has paid back $28,762 to MSF, with $19,518 outstanding.
Daljit’s lawyer S S Dhillon described his client as a “mere pawn” who was used by Gerard as she was blinded by love for him.
District Judge Ong Luan Tze also noted that Daljit was not the mastermind and was simply following instructions, although she should not have complied.
The MSF has since revoked Welcare’s status as an SCFA administrator due to the fraud.
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