Man jailed 37 months for masterminding fake tax refunds, evading GST

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Man jailed 37 months for masterminding fake tax refunds, evading GST

SINGAPORE – Schemes to claim tax refunds on fake purchases and evade GST in Singapore have landed its mastermind a 37-month jail sentence.

In late 2020, Alan Yeo, 34, recruited two men to travel to London, where they were told to make fraudulent value-added tax (VAT) refunds. Using fictitious invoices for jewelry they had not bought, the duo ended up receiving €42,975 (S$63,000) in refunds, with Yeo taking a cut.

Yeo convinced one of them to avoid declaring the cash amount of the VAT refund that was brought into Singapore, despite the amount being more than $20,000.

He also instructed the other man to bring jewelery from overseas into Singapore and not to declare it to avoid paying the requisite goods and services tax (GST).

On Friday, Yeo was jailed for 37 months and handed a $6,000 fine, said the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Customs in a joint statement.

Investigations began after Singapore Customs received information of “an unsuccessful attempt to make VAT refund claims in a European country”.

“Claiming tax refunds from overseas authorities through fraudulent means can amount to a foreign serious offense or foreign serious tax offence,” said the statement.

It added that Singapore has zero-tolerance towards money laundering, regardless of whether the proceeds were obtained here or abroad.

The police stressed the need for travelers to declare the physical movement of any cash or bearer negotiable instrument exceeding $20,000, or its equivalent in a foreign currency, in or out of Singapore.

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