Ex-finance chief of JEL jailed a year

Dawn Zeng
20 March 2010

The former chief financial officer of JEL Corporation has been fined $100,000 and will spend a year in jail for conspiring to produce fraudulent company accounts.

Wee Teck Han (right) was convicted of producing documents that inflated JEL’s profits by about $4.2 million in the 2006 financial year.

Wee, 37, pleaded guilty last week to nine counts under the Penal Code and the Securities and Futures Act.

He was charged last May along with then-chief executive Eric Tan Boon Yong, 52, and group financial controller Alex Ng Soon Heng, 33.

They allegedly set out to falsify JEL’s accounts with the intention to defraud between November 2006 and June 2007.

Between November and December 2006, Tan allegedly told Wee he wanted to ensure that JEL reached a profit of $8 million for the 2006 financial year.

To achieve this, Tan allegedly arranged for JEL’s trade partners – which were controlled by Biomed Holdings, a British Virgin Islands-incorporated company – to accept ‘price revisions’.

Under Wee’s instruction, Ng was alleged to have directed JEL staff to falsify original tax invoices and create fictitious invoices to inflate JEL’s revenue. A debit note was also voided to reduce recorded expenses.

Tan and a fourth accused – JEL’s ex- chief operating officer and director Eric Leow Hock Leong, 53 – had effective control over Biomed through various nominee directors and shareholders.

JEL eventually reported a net profit of $8 million for the 2006 financial year but $6.4 million came from inflated revenue and lower expenses.

Wee, an executive director of JEL at the time, was also convicted for failing to notify the Singapore Exchange of transactions with trade partner Yong Tat Enterprise. These deals were deemed to be ‘interested person transactions’ and so had to be declared.

In his mitigation, Wee’s lawyer Wendell Wong said Wee understood the arrangement to be Tan’s personal decision to act in the best commercial interests of JEL and its shareholders.

Wee was appointed JEL’s chief financial officer in 2002 and became deputy chief executive in August 2006. He resigned in April 2007 but continued to provide consultancy services to JEL through his own company.

The cases against the other three accused are pending.

Wee faced up to 10 years’ jail and up to $250,000 in fines on some of the counts.

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