Failed escape bid earns Singapore megachurch fraudster more jail time

31-Jan-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A Singaporean man jailed over a multi million-dollar fraud at a glitzy megachurch was given extra prison time Tuesday for trying to flee the country before his sentence started.

In a case that gripped the city-state with a mix of religion and lavish spending, six City Harvest Church leaders were convicted in 2015 of pilfering tens of millions of dollars from the place of worship to promote the pop career of the pastor’s wife.

Among them was investment manager Chew Eng Han, who was sentenced to three years and four months.

His imprisonment was delayed by a series of appeals but after losing his final challenge, Chew was meant to start serving his sentence on February 22 last year.

But a day before he was due to go to jail, police caught him in a small fishing boat off eastern Singapore attempting to flee to neighbouring Malaysia.

After the failed escape bid, he started serving his sentence in March.

Chew was convicted in December of two fresh charges related to the attempt to flee.

On Tuesday District Court Judge Victor Yeo sentenced him to an extra 13 months for the two charges, to be served at the end of his current sentence.

The judge said he was not persuaded by the defence lawyer’s argument that Chew had shown genuine remorse for his actions.

State prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 15 months, saying Chew’s actions were “premeditated” and underlined his “complete lack of respect for the law”.

Three other men were jailed last year for helping Chew in the escape bid.

The church leaders were convicted of using Sg$24 million ($19.8 million) from a church building fund to help advance the music career of the pastor’s singer wife Sun Ho, and were also found guilty of misappropriating huge sums as they covered their tracks.

The money was used to fund glitzy pop videos featuring scantily clad dancers, with the church arguing Ho’s music could be used to attract more followers.


Category: Singapore

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