Indian-origin magician charged with fraud in Singapore

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Singapore–An Indian-origin magician here was charged in a court with multiple counts of helping others to fraudulently obtain Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) cash payouts and bonuses amounting to 1.1 million Singapore dollars (about $768,000), the media reported.

S. Chandran, 35, owner of Paradize Consultancy, was charged on Friday and faced 58 charges under the Income Tax Act, the Strait Times reported.

He was accused of intentionally assisting 49 claimants to obtain cash payouts under the PIC scheme. The alleged offences occurred between June 2013 and November 2014.

This is the biggest case involving an alleged PIC promoter to date, the report said.

Chandran was offered bail of 200,000 Singapore dollars (about $139,000). He will return to court on February 3.

The former IT instructor quit his job in 2008 to pursue his dream of being a magician, and became famous after winning the Best Variety Entertainer award by the US-based International Magicians Society in 2014.

In a statement, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) said that over the past year, it conducted extensive investigations into a number of suspicious PIC claims and many of the claims were linked to Chandran.

Iras tax prosecutor Elisa Soh Hui said that Chandran acted as a PIC broker and received about 400,000 Singapore dollars ($279,000) from the payouts.

The PIC scheme is meant for qualified businesses with real productivity-enhancing investments.

It offers tax deductions or cash payouts to companies that invest in areas such as staff training, information technology or automation equipment to boost productivity.

If convicted, Chandran could be fined up to 50,000 Singapore dollars ($34,000) or jailed for up to five years.



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