Three dentists and a manager of The Smile Division Dental Group, have been charged with authorising false Medisave claims on behalf of their patients on 13 April, according to a news release by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Cecil Goh Chin Chye, 47, the group's managing director and dentists Steven Ang Kiam Hau, 42, and Daniel Liew Yaoxiang, 35, will each face between 200 and 600 charges of deceiving the Central Provident Fund Board by making the fraudulent Medisave claims between 2011 and 2014. All three have been dentists for between 11 and 22 years.

Yeo Meow Koon, 46, a practice group manager in the company has been named as an accomplice in all the charges that the three dentists have been accused of. Prosecutors stated that Yeo, played an "assisting" role in the alleged offences, by submitting the fraudulent claims issued by the dentists.

Fraudulent acts came to light after MOH audits

Both Yeo and Goh will each face 612 charges while Liew and Ang are accused of 280 and 283 charges respectively. The total amount disbursed in Goh's case was S$889,141 and court documents show that he was involved in treating two patients in 49 charges.

For Liew who cheated 13 patients, the total amount was S$388,700, while Ang who cheated 14 patients, paid out S$434,241. The alleged bogus claims ranged between S$300 to S$3,508 each.

Except for Ang, the rest were accused of conspiracy to commit forgery for the purpose of cheating the MOH during Professional Medisave Audits on two of the clinics under the Smile Division Dental Group between 30 October and 20 November 2012, and between 8 November and 25 November 2013. Each will face up to 10 years' jail and/or a fine for each charge of cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, as well as for each forgery charge.

The fraudulent acts came to light after audits were conducted at four clinics under the Smile Division Group, which operates five dental clinics at Tampines, Hougang, Yishun and Choa Chu Kang. The MOH lodged a police report following the audits and investigations began four months later, in November 2014.

No pleas were taken from the four and were let out on bail, which was set at S$500,000 for Goh, S$300,000 for Liew, S$250,000 for Ang and S$80,000 for Yeo, on Thursday. All four will be required to attend a pre-trial conference on 11 May.

Medisave accreditations may be suspended

Wendell Wong, defence lawyer of Ang, argued for Ang's bail to be lowered from the initial amount of S$300,000 earlier as he said Ang had "acted in his patients' best interests".

The claims were made "with (the) patients' full knowledge, blessings and in some instances, at their requests," Mr Wong told the court.

Yeo's bail was reduced from S$100,000 after her defence lawyer Tan Hee Joek, argued that she was a "mere employee of the dental clinic" acting on instructions.

The MOH has served notices of its intended suspension of the Medisave accreditation of the three dentists, who will be given two weeks to respond to MOH. If no satisfactory explanation is given, their accreditations will be suspended from 5 May onwards this year.

They will still be allowed to carry out dental treatment, but will not be able to make Medisave claims on behalf of their patients. MOH has also said it will refer the matter to the Singapore Dental Council, given the severity of the Alleged offences. MIMS

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