Immigration Assistant guilty of $32,000 salary advance fraud
An Immigration Assistant of the Immigration Department (ImmD), charged by the ICAC, was today (September 12) convicted at the Eastern Magistracy of defrauding the ImmD of a salary advance in the sum of over $32,000.
Patrick Tam Chi-wai, 46, was found guilty of one count of fraud, contrary to Section 16A of the Theft Ordinance.
Deputy Magistrate Mr Arthur Lam Hei-wei adjourned the case to next Friday (September 22) for sentence, pending a community service order report. The defendant was remanded in the custody of the Correctional Services Department.
The case arose from a corruption complaint referred by the ImmD. Subsequent ICAC enquiries revealed the above offence.
The court heard that on July 28, 2014, the defendant submitted an application form to the Director of Accounting Services (DAS) via the ImmD for a salary advance in the sum of $32,760 to be settled by 20 instalments.
In the application form, the defendant filled in “NIL” to declare that he did not have any outstanding liabilities as at the date of application, and signed on it.
On September 8, 2014, the application was recommended by an officer of the ImmD and submitted to the DAS for processing.
Afterwards, the application was approved by the DAS. The salary advance in the sum of $32,760 was deposited into the defendant’s bank account on September 17, 2014.
The court heard that on September 14, 2015, the defendant reported to his supervisor that the Legal Aid Department (LAD) had filed a bankruptcy petition for his outstanding legal fees incurred from his divorce case.
After adjudicating him bankrupt, the defendant filed a statement of affairs on October 19, 2015, listing out his outstanding liabilities with the LAD, his aunt and a licensed money lender in a total sum of over $386,000.
Had the ImmD known that the defendant had concealed his outstanding liabilities in the application form, the department would not have recommended his application and submitted it to the DAS for approval. Had the DAS known of his outstanding liabilities, the director would not have approved the application, the court was told.
The ImmD had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation.
The prosecution was today represented by prosecuting counsel Marco Li, assisted by ICAC officer Jeff Ng.