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Dentist who was suspended, fined admits to 30 more cheating charges

SINGAPORE — Steven Ang Kiam Hau, a 43-year-old dentist, pleaded guilty on Friday (May 4) to 30 counts of cheating, a week after being suspended for a year and fined S$25,000 for submitting fake claims to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board.

Dentist who was suspended, fined admits to 30 more cheating charges

Steven Ang Kiam Hau, a 43-year-old dentist, pleaded guilty on Friday (May 4) to 30 counts of cheating.

SINGAPORE — Steven Ang Kiam Hau, a 43-year-old dentist, pleaded guilty on Friday (May 4) to 30 counts of cheating, a week after being suspended for a year and fined S$25,000 for submitting fake claims to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board.

Another 253 counts of cheating will be taken into consideration during sentencing at a later date.

For the latest offences, about S$434,000 were cheated from 14 underprivileged patients. He also made dishonest claims under CPF’s Medisave scheme using their names.

The court heard that Ang came up with his ploy sometime in 2009, two years after he joined The Smile Division Dental Group.

At the clinic at Lucky Plaza, he would certify that surgeries were performed on patients on multiple dates, even though they were all done on a single day or, at most, two days.

He “split up” the Medisave claims across multiple dates in order to circumvent the daily withdrawal limits that the Ministry of Health imposes for day surgeries and receive full treatment costs using patients’ Medisave accounts.

Typically, Ang would give his patients a rough estimate of how much their treatment would cost. His staff members would then advise them on how to get financial aid.

If the patients could not afford to pay for the dental treatment in cash, they would be offered a “package” with lower rates than what other clinics and medical institutions usually charge.

The staff members would also help the patients to claim the full, or almost full, cost of the treatment from their Medisave savings.

If the patients agreed to use their Medisave savings to pay for treatment, Ang would then perform the procedure and arrange for the bill to be paid from their Medisave accounts.

In making the claims, Ang instructed his staff members to choose random surgery dates and serial numbers to be associated with the claims, so that the Health Ministry and the CPF Board would find it more difficult to detect that they were submitting dishonest claims.

The documents would then be sent to The Smile Division group’s head office in Yishun for record-keeping and submission through MediClaim, an online site under the Health Ministry for medical institutions to file claims.

Two other dentists from The Smile Division (also known as TSD Dental Group), Dr Goh Chin Chye Cecil, 48, and Dr Daniel Liew Yaoxiang, 36, as well the group’s practice manager Yeo Meow Koon, 47, are accused of conspiring with Ang to cheat patients.

Goh, also the managing director of The Smile Division, got to know of Ang’s scheme around 2011, and saw it as a way to attract more patients by offering them the option of “reducing” the amount of money they needed to pay upfront for their surgeries.

When Goh and Ang agreed to continue with this plan in 2011 at the Lucky Plaza clinic, they did not restrict it to underprivileged patients anymore.

Goh also decided to use this tactic at various clinics under the group and encouraged other dentists to adopt it.

Between 2011 and 2013, the dental group operated nine clinics across the island and employed around 30 dentists.

Ang has made full restitution to the CPF Board, including interest. The board has credited the sum into the respective patients’ Medisave accounts from which the claims were disbursed.

For cheating, Ang could be jailed up to 10 years and fined for each count.

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