An Indian Muslim restaurant, 7Star Restaurant, located at Upper Serangoon Road was fined $52,000 by the court yesterday (20 Aug), after pleading guilty to four charges relating to falsely declaring the salaries of four employees to Manpower Ministry (MOM).
Eight other charges, also involving the salaries of other employees, were taken into consideration during sentencing. They all involved inflating the salaries of foreign employees in order to deceive MOM into issuing work passes for them.
The offences took place between 2013 and 2017. The 4 charges involved:
- Jun 2013 – one S Pass holder declared to be earning $3,000 when he was getting less than half
- Sep 2014 – Renewing S Pass with declared salary of $2,900 when the person actually earned $1,400
- Mar 2015 – Renewing Employment Pass with declared salary of $4,500 when the person actually earned $1,400
- Feb 2017 – one S Pass holder declared to be earning $3,150 when he was getting less than half
The minimum salaries to qualify for getting S Pass and Employment Pass are $2,400 and $3,900 respectively.
MOM prosecutor told the court that its director, Mr Subramanian Thiruppathi Raj, knew about the minimum salary requirement for obtaining work passes and that he never had the intention to pay his foreign employees the declared salaries.
Mr Raj would pay his “foreign talents” through cheques reflecting the false salaries every month. They then colluded with him to return the difference between the false amounts and their actual salaries in cash back to him.
Mr Raj also instructed them to sign on salary vouchers reflecting the false salaries, which were intended to give the authorities the impression that they were paid such amounts.
With regard to the $52,000 fine, Mr Raj instructed his lawyer to inform the court that his company has already ceased operations and has no money to pay the fine.
The District Judge eventually ordered the company to pay $13,000 upfront, with the rest of the fine to be paid in instalments over three months.
In any case, it took 7 years for MOM to uncover the ruse first pulled off by the restaurant in 2013.