Four locals were arrested on Tuesday for defrauding the Financial Services Bureau (DSF) out of about MOP 3 million by setting up over 600 shell companies, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Ho Chan Nam has announced.
Ho identified the suspects as a 69-year-old male retiree surnamed Iao; his wife, a 64-year-old street vendor surnamed Tang; their son, a 31-year-old real-estate agent surnamed Iao; and the son’s friend, a 39-year-old car salesman surnamed Choi.
According to Ho, the Iao family rented two empty shops for a total of MOP 43,000 a month and registered over 600 companies with the addresses. The shops were not running any business, Ho noted.
The quartet used 113 of the shell companies to apply for the government’s financial support plan for business operators affected by the Covid-19 pandemic between February 2019 and September 2021. Each shell company was given MOP 25,800 in subsidies, and the bureau was swindled out of a total of MOP 2.91 million.
Ho underlined that 60 cheques issued by the government, worth MOP 1.54 million in total, were cashed by the quartet.
The suspects were arrested on Tuesday in the Avenida Horta e Costa neighbourhood and Areia Preta district.
Under questioning, the Iao’s and Tang denied defrauding the bureau, claiming that they had established the shell companies merely to apply for and resell dual and triple licence plates. Choi said that he had assisted Iao in setting up two shell companies in exchange for a Hong Kong-Macao licence plate.
The suspects were transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office yesterday, facing organised crime and fraud charges, The Macau Post Daily reported.