5 Indians jailed for fraud in Singapore

Singapore, (IANS) Five Indian nationals were jailed here on Monday for making fraudulent Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund claims amounting to 167,253 Singapore dollars (US $120,422) between January 2015 to May last year, a media report said.

Kothandaraman Gnanam (29), Karunanidhi Rajesh (32), Ramaiyan Karthikeyan (44) and Waithiyalingam Karunanidhi (61), were each jailed for three years and three months.

Their accomplice, Karunanithi Saravanan (37) was jailed for three years and two months, the Strait Times reported.

The men were also fined between 14,000 Singapore dollars ($10,080) and 70,000 Singapore dollars ($50,400). Each man also had to fork out 51,952.71 Singapore dollars ($37,405) as a penalty.

The court heard that the men loitered in and around jewellery shops in Little India to obtain invoices and jewellery tags from customers such as Singapore permanent residents and work pass holders, who are not entitled to GST refunds.

Then they would buy the invoices from the customers but no mention was made on the amount they paid for each invoice.

Tourists visiting Singapore can claim GST refunds on goods they bought when they leave the country.

They receive a receipt for goods purchased and an eTRS ticket when they buy items from a GST-registered retailer.

The tourists can then use the eTRS ticket to make GST refund claims at ports of departure.

They can also make similar transactions using the credit cards which they had used to buy their goods.

The five men used their passports and white embarkation cards to obtain eTRS tickets from the respective shops using the receipts they had obtained, the daily reported.

They then matched the invoices, jewellery tags and eTRS tickets with the jewellery they already had in hand.

Karunanithi Saravanan also provided jewellery from his own wholesale purchases to his accomplices to help them in making false claims, according to the report.

The men would then claim eTRS GST cash refunds at the airport before flying off.

Investigators from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) nabbed them on February 1.

On Friday, the men pleaded guilty to 14 GST-related charges. Each man also had between 198 and 235 similar charges taken into consideration during sentencing.

Each man also pleaded guilty to between seven and 11 charges of removing money from the country.

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