Jail for company director who evaded S$172,000 in taxes, spent ill-gotten gains on new condo and car
SINGAPORE — Over six years, the director of a silk printing company avoided paying about S$172,000 in income tax as well as Goods and Services Tax (GST) by hiding cash sales from the firm’s accountant.
Loh Chia Wei then used the money for a downpayment on a condominium apartment in Upper Serangoon and a Toyota Harrier vehicle, among other purposes.
On Monday (June 20), Loh, 48, was jailed for nine months and has to pay a penalty of about S$253,000.
He has to serve another 16 weeks behind bars should he be unable to pay the penalty.
His company, Print Orient, was fined S$20,000 and ordered to pay a penalty of about S$174,000 to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. Loh was in charge of running the firm since he joined in 2007.
He pleaded guilty to:
- Ten charges under the Income Tax Act and GST Act in relation to evading about S$77,000 in taxes
- One count of money laundering under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act
- One attempted cheating charge
Another 22 similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that from 2011 to 2016, Loh conducted cash sales on behalf of the company and did not account for them in its income tax and GST returns.
He recorded the cash sales in a separate folder in its accounting software and deliberately did not allow the firm’s accountant to access it.
In total, Loh under-declared income amounting to about S$866,000. Of this, S$715,000 was deposited into his OCBC bank account, with S$101,830 constituting the benefits of his criminal conduct because it should have been paid as taxes.
From July to December 2017, Loh made repayments for his Housing and Development Board flat along Joo Seng Road, a downpayment of S$54,000 for an apartment at Kingsford Waterbay condominium, and a downpayment of S$78,000 for the Toyota Harrier.
Separately, in May 2013, he wanted to refinance one of the company’s existing loans because the firm was in some financial trouble.
Loh consulted accountant Yong Mee Kiang, who suggested that adjustments be made to the firm’s stock inventories to “make the profits look nicer” before applying for the refinancing.
Loh agreed and told the accountant to adjust the firm’s profits figures in its management accounts for the financial year that ended in October 2012.
Mr Yong then amended the management report to reflect a total profit of S$80,054 instead of $10,521.
Loh forwarded the altered profit figures to Maybank along with a term loan application form in August 2013 seeking two loans amounting to S$735,000 in total.
Maybank ultimately did not rely on this in approving the loan application.
Court documents did not state how his various offences came to light.
Those convicted of tax evasion under the GST Act can be jailed for up to seven years or fined up to S$10,000, or punished with both.
Under the Income Tax Act, offenders can be jailed for up to three years or fined up to S$10,000, or both, for each offence.
Tax evaders also have to pay a penalty of three times the amount of tax they admit to undercharging.