23 September 2005

Man Convicted For Cheating Himself

I thought this was a really rather clever trick. Also, although his act was technically a criminal offence, I find it difficult to think of it as morally wrong. He was only stealing his OWN money, after all. That could be a crime only in a place like Singapore.

Sept 23, 2005
Man fined for pulling scam to siphon off CPF money

By Khushwant Singh
COMPANY director Eric Tan, 45, hit on a plan to get his hands on Central Provident Fund money that was off-limits.

He bought shares with his own money on the stock market and sold them to himself at higher prices - with money from his CPF account. He also sold shares from his CPF account back to himself at lower prices. And he pocketed the difference.

The round-tripping scam enabled Tan to siphon off $6,855 from his CPF account - funds he was allowed to withdraw only when he reached 55.

However, he was caught and fined $7,000 after he pleaded guilty to 11 charges of contravening the CPF Act by selling and buying 88,000 Dayen Environmental shares and 40,000 Megachem shares.
There's another part of the article which I found noteworthy:
Tan's lawyer, Mr Lawrence Goh, pleaded for a light sentence, saying Tan regrets his foolish act and realises it was 'very stupid'.

The money Tan took was used for his daily expenses as he was in financial difficulties then.
This reminds me of all those people in recent times who were retrenched and unemployed and struggling to get by from day to day. Their children could not afford to go to school or to have proper meals. Meanwhile their CPF accounts bulged with huge amounts of their OWN money that the government would not allow them to touch.

Only in a country like Singapore.

Eric decides he can't wait till he's 55.

10 comments:

at82 said...

Hmmm that is very sad... Govt always say must save for retirement. But if you cannot even survive at the present there is no point thinking about retirement.

Hey Mr Wang do you have any idea why unemployment insurance is banned in S'pore? If they are allowed people won't have to resort to these measures to get $.

カイ said...

What unemployment insurance? Our clever scholar-ministers surely got think of that before what, but they don't want s'poreans to be too dependent on this kind of lousy thing. Wait people purposely don't want to find job how? The gov't said if low-skilled workers upgrade, they surely can stay employed mah. Whatever their families are supposed to subsist on in the meantime and wherever they get the funds to upgrade is another matter right? You think those ministers in their big big bungalows really give a damn meh? Only once in a while or elections time, they come out of their comfortable dens to hang around in their districts and let would-be voters lick their shoes and revel in their sanctimonious aura.. so patronizing. Then after that go back parliament talk cock sing song only.

The money in the CPF is for retirement leh, cannot anyhow take out. Who cares if you're starving.

If they really really in financial difficulties, tell them to borrow from loansharks lah. Or apply for early reincarnation also can. Free. And it always works.

Beach-yi said...

I thought the Khaw Boon Wan once said in response to someone in relation to high medical costs, that the someone's parent best insurance is the children...

So i suppose they would assume the children of jobless people are the best form of job insurance as well????

at82 said...

Walau like tat how can? If don't have children how? Eat wind ah? Or ask from parents? Like that parents kenna shit liao loh~

I think the argument that unemployment makes dun wan to find job is pretty nonsense. If you don't get a job in the 1st place how are you going to pay for the unemployment insurance in the 1st place?!? I really hope that isn't the reason why our gahmen ban unemployment insurance loh...

Mr Wang Says So said...

I shall not comment on this, because I really know nothing about unemployment insurance.

Recruit Ong said...

All your $$ belong to PAP.

drunkenpanda said...

Then we must purposely tahan until we are 55 just to finally get any dough to even afford basic necessities even if we need the money before then? Another very interesting law....

Only in Singapore....

singaporean said...

It is not that bad, the CPF system of Singapore. From what I understand, US companies put aside a sum of money to fund employee pensions as well. Employees cant touch the money either, and have to live long long to collect their fair share. The difference is that Singapore nationalise the pension system to provide cheap funding for government projects, as well as funding the housing boom.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the PAP's paternalism, even though I wish to see better checks and balance. I know of a man who lived in a 3 room flat all his life, on collecting his CPF, started spending like he never did before. A plasma tv, a big renovation and a couple of trips to Genting later, his 5 digit money from CPF was reduced to almost zero, all within a year. I know of a couple, who enjoyed a windfall from a 6 digit inheritance, spent so hard that they are 6 digit in debt and declared bankrupt.

There is a good reason why a lot of low income Singaporeans stay low income. They are too stupid to handle money and will always return to their natural state of living hand to mouth. The stupidity doesnt even stop with cash. Just take a look at the sheer amount of insurance bought with cpf money just so that they can get a free mp3 player.

For mid to high income Singaporeans, the lowering of the CPF contribution ceiling will allow them to manage their own money, and IMHO is the right way to go.

I dont want to comment on unemployment insurance though, since I dont understand it either. I'd rather see Singapore unions gain more teeth than creating a dole system.

prabvoodoo3dfx said...

PLEASE LAH ! He can afford to buy shares worth thousands of dollars USING HIS OWN MONEY... and he's stating that he cannot afford to lead a life.... LAME EXCUSE .... and you people are arguing over that...

Mr Wang Says So said...

You could be right. Then again, you could simply be ignorant about personal lines of credit, which are widely offered by banks in Singapore. And which, I imagine, can be very popular with people like Eric Tan.

See the last part of this old post of mine.

All you need is to be employed at the time you apply. If you earn $6000, you can get $12,000 from the bank. And if you apply to six banks, you can get $72,000 at your disposal.