Jewellery Shop Partner Convicted for Abetting in GST Tourist Refund Fraud

3 Dec 2019

Palaniappan Ramanathan (aged 41), one of the partners of Abiraame Jewellers, was convicted in Court today for abetting claimants in making fraudulent Goods and Services (GST) tourist refund claims. He faced a total of 74 charges for conspiring with six employees of Abiraame Jewellers, who were convicted in July 2019, to issue electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) tickets that enabled claimants to fraudulently claim GST refunds amounting to approximately $14,353.

The fraudulent claims were linked to the five Indian nationals (“claimants”) who were convicted and sentenced in Apr 2017 for their illegal scheme in masquerading as ‘tourists’ to obtain eTRS tickets and made fraudulent GST refund claims in which they were not entitled to.

Court Sentences

For the 35 proceeded charges, the Court sentenced Palaniappan Ramanathan to pay a total fine of $63,000 ($1,800 per charge), with the remaining 39 charges taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing. 

Abuse of the GST Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS)

It is an offence for a person to obtain GST refunds if the person does not meet the TRS qualifying criteria and conditions. It is also an offence for an individual to assist another person in obtaining fraudulent eTRS refunds, such as by selling one’s receipt or invoice to support the claim.

IRAS will not hesitate to take stern enforcement actions against any individual who with willful intent make a false GST refund claim or assist any other person to make false claims. IRAS will also not hesitate to take firm action against retailers who are complicit or negligent in the issuing of eTRS tickets leading to the abuse of the Tourist Refund Scheme. 

Reporting of Malpractices

Businesses or individuals are encouraged to immediately disclose any past tax mistakes. IRAS will treat such disclosures as mitigating factors when considering action to be taken. Those who wish to disclose past mistakes or report malpractices can write to:

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore
Investigation & Forensics Division
55 Newton Road, Revenue House
Singapore 307987

Email: ifd@iras.gov.sg

 

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore