Four men and a woman were arrested on Wednesday for using forged documents to cheat the government’s continuing education subsidy scheme out of MOP 1.76 million (US$223,000), Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Chan Wun Man said during a special press conference on Thursday.
The five suspects are friends and local residents – headed by a jobless 35-year-old male surnamed Lei, two 32-year-old male bank employees surnamed Wong and Ho, a 33-year-old male music tutor surnamed Ng and a 71-year-old jobless female surnamed Fong.
According to Chan, the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) referred a case to the Judiciary Police in January about the Education and Youth Bureau (DSEJ) having been defrauded last year. A PJ investigation showed that the five suspects ran courses in three education centres located in the Areia Preta, Horta da Mitra and Nam Van districts. The quintet allegedly ran at least 20 fake courses from April to September last year to fraudulently obtain subsidies worth MOP 1.76 million. They used cash rebates to recruit students and submitted forged documents to the bureau to apply for the subsidies, according to the investigation.
Chan said that Lei, Wong, Ho and Ng were told to report to a police station for questioning on Wednesday, while Fong was intercepted at her home in Avenida de Venceslau de Morais on the same day. All of them denied committing the crime and refused to cooperate with the investigation.
The investigation also discovered that 10 residents who had received cash rebates from the suspects and enrolled in the purported courses at the education centres were involved in the fraud. Comprising both males and females, they are in their 60s and 70s. Most of them are retirees who are facing charges of document forgery and aggravated fraud, according to Chan.
PJ officers are continuing their investigation and are looking for other possible suspects, Chan said
The 15 suspects were transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) yesterday, facing charges of document forgery and aggravated fraud, according to Chan.