ALLIED TECH SAGA

Jeffrey Ong faces 8 more charges; CAD receives new reports

Singapore

EIGHT fresh charges were laid before JLC Advisors managing partner Jeffrey Ong Su Aun on Thursday - all for alleged offences of forgery for the purpose of cheating, amid fresh police reports of another S$16 million in unauthorised transactions.

These charges are related to the 41-year-old lawyer's earlier case of having allegedly deceived a company called CCJ Investments of S$6 million on Feb 19.

The fresh accusations are the result of three more clients of JLC Advisors having filed reports with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) over allegedly unauthorised transactions involving S$16 million in their funds held with the boutique law firm.

These allegations followed Catalist-listed precision engineering firm Allied Technologies' complaint to the white-collar crime-buster in late May against Ong and JLC Advisors over S$33 million missing from its escrow account held by the law firm.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Nicholas Khoo updated the District Court on these developments when Ong's cheating case came up for mention on Thursday.

DPP Khoo, in an application to have Ong remanded another week, said the CAD needed more time to trace the funds and to look into which transactions were unauthorised.

Ong's newly appointed counsel Jennifer Sia told the judge that as she had yet to take instructions from Ong, she would therefore leave it to the court's discretion.

The judge ordered Ong to be further remanded in Central Police Station, and adjourned the case to next Thursday for mention.

Ong, who appeared via video-link, is now staring at nine charges, when, the week before, it had been only one.

Seven of the eight fresh charges allege that he had fraudulently signed off as James Tan Kwang Yong (the sole shareholder and director of real estate developer Suite Development) on a series of documents and a letter.

The documents, including a deed of guarantee, a deed of charge over shares, director's and shareholder's resolutions and an instrument of transfer, were said to have been used to deceive CCJ Investments into believing that there was a loan agreement between Suite Development and CCJ Investments, swindling CCJ out of S$6 million.

The remaining forgery charge accuses Ong of fraudulently signing off on a mortgage paper as Mr Tan and Joel Tan Guang Qian, the company secretary of Suite Development.

The properties listed on the mortgage paper are at 235, 237 and 239 Tanjong Katong Road.

Ong had been charged on June 1 with one count of cheating CCJ Investments of the S$6 million.

The punishment for each count of cheating or forgery is the same: imprisonment of up to 10 years and also a fine.

Ong had been wanted by the CAD for allegedly ordering unauthorised payouts of S$33 million belonging to Allied Tech, but has so far not faced charges related to this.

He became incommunicado in mid-May, and JLC Advisors informed Allied Tech a week later about the payouts.

On May 30, the lawyer was sent back to Singapore after his arrest in Kuala Lumpur by the Malaysian police at the CAD's request.

Apart from Ms Sia, there were other lawyers in court when Ong's case was heard on Thursday, including those presently and previously with JLC Advisors.