A woman who conspired with a former Nanyang Technological University (NTU) director in a long-running scam that cheated the college out of $191,000 has been jailed for 17 months.

Louise Lai Pei Hsien, 43, pleaded guilty to five charges of cheating, with a further 10 counts taken into consideration.

The court heard that Lai and co-accused Cheng Choong Hung, also known as Viktor, were former colleagues.

 

At the time of the offences, Cheng was the director of NTUitive, a director at the Institute for Media Innovation (IMI) and chief executive of TechBiz Xccelerator (TBX). All three are wholly-owned subsidiaries of NTU.

Lai set up an IT firm called I-KnowHow (IKH) in July 2014 on the advice of Cheng, who had actual control over the company.

They agreed to tender for projects at IMI, TBX and NTUitive, despite Lai knowing there would be a conflict of interest.

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It was decided that Cheng should not be registered as a director, shareholder or have any obvious connection with IKH.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Victoria Ting told District Judge Ong Chin Rhu on Monday that apart from the NTU-related projects Cheng sourced, the company did not have other business dealings.

In 2014, Lai followed Cheng’s instructions and prepared a quote for an IMI job even though she knew a freelancer would actually do the work.

DPP Ting sought 18 months’ jail, highlighting the long period of offending against the public purse.

Lai’s lawyer, Mr Teo Choo Kee, asked for a sentence of up to 16 months, noting that apart from the offence involving her husband, Lai did not personally benefit.

Cheng’s case is still before the courts. He faces 120 charges