CEO Jailed For Cooking The Books

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The 52-year-old Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JEL Corporation (Holdings) Limited, a public listed company, was sentenced to 12 months jail and fined S$280,000 for his creativity. Mr Eric Tan Boon Yong, who founded the firm, has pleaded guilty to conspired with two of his colleagues to falsify (cook) the company’s accounts (books) and inflated its profits by more than S$4.2 million.

He, along with Alex Ng Soon Heng and Wee Teck Han had conspired to inflate the books after one of JEL’s major suppliers, Konica Minolta, announced its withdrawal from the photography business in early 2006. This withdrawal could result in a loss of a significant source of the company’s revenue and also realised that JEL was likely to fail to meet its target of a net profit after tax of S$8 million for the 2006 financial year. They created false transactions in their accounting system with intention to defraud on 68 occassion between November 2006 and June 2007. They overstated JEL’s profit by over $6 million in its year-end financial statement. As a matter of facts, Eric Tan actually arranged for payments to be made to JEL. In other words, the inflated revenue and profit was actually backed up by actual money coming into JEL from Yong Tat and Vietco. So there was no missing money. They then claimed that JEL’s profits to meet the targeted S$8 million.

So even if money was actually paid to JEL, the investors would still have been deceived. The false accounts sent an incorrect signal to investors about JEL’s future profitability. The public were busy trading JEL shares and there were talk about Sam Goi Seng Hui “the Popiah King” upping his stake of JEL.

In August 2007, company’s audit committee found anomaly in JEL Books and call-in KPMG Forensic. Trading of JEL shares were suspended on 28 September 2007. In October 2007, JEL Corporation (Holdings) Ltd announced the resignation of Mr Eric Tan Boon Yong as the Chairman and Executive Director with immediate effect, due to health reasons. The trio were investigated by Singapore Police Force Commercial Affairs Department (Police Cantonment Complex) and subsequent KPMG Forensic found irregularities like documents been destroyed, altered, removed or irretrievably erased from JEL’s premises and computer systems.

At the time of leaving JEL, Tan share JEL was worth $40 Million. If today, Eric still have the same number of shares of JEL they are worth about $3 Million.

JEL Corporation (Holdings) Ltd located of JEL Centre 11 Changi North Way is a Singapore-based investment holding company. JEL Corporation is an established distributor of fast-moving consumer goods, consumer electronic, IT, photographic, mobility and timepiece products, with distribution networks spanning many emerging markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. Headquartered in Singapore, JEL Corporation distributes a wide range of world rrenowned brands such as Apple, Acer, Targus, Linksys,Nikon, Casio, Samsung, Asrock, Foxconn, Tamron, TAG Heuer, Fendi, Dior, Movado, Armand Nicolet and Corum. The Group also distributes its two in-house brands, efiniti and Ecochem. efiniti, a product line for photographic industry, and Ecochem, a product that offers photoprocessing chemicals, which are able tocomplement our existing network and our principals’ range of products. The company was incorporated in 2001 as a private company limited by shares and in 2003 it was converted into public limited company.

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