SINGAPORE — Local confectionery chain Twelve Cupcakes on Thursday (10 December) admitted to underpaying seven foreign workers about $114,000 for nearly two years.
At the State Courts, the company, which was founded in 2011 by radio DJ Daniel Ong and former actress Jaime Teo, pleaded guilty to 15 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
Another 14 similar charges will be considered in sentencing at a later date.
After Ong and Teo’s divorce, the company was sold to India-based Dhunseri Group in 2017 for $2.5 million.
The group later expanded the chain, more than doubling the number of Twelve Cupcakes outlets from 16 at the time it was acquired to 35 today.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is seeking a fine of $127,000.
Credited lower salary, asked for return of pay
The court heard that MOM began investigations into the company in December 2018 after it received a tip off.
All seven affected employees were S-Pass holders who were supposed to earn between $2,200 and $2,600. One was a pastry chef, two were sales executives and the remaining four were customer service executives. Instead, they received between $1,400 and $2,050.
It is not known if the staff are currently employed by the company.
Between January 2017 and April 2018, the company credited lower wages into the staff’s bank accounts, said MOM prosecutor Maximilian Chew.
However, from May 2018 onwards, the company credited their rightful salaries, and then asked for the return of the difference between the sum and their lower wages in cash, he added.
Full restitution has since been paid to the seven staff.
For each of its proceeded charges, Twelve Cupcakes faces a fine of up to $10,000.
The company is expected to be sentenced in January.
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