A 36-year-old Filipino was sentenced to 16 months’ jail today (Jan 7) for making up to 33 charges of false declarations to the Manpower Ministry (MOM). Filipino Celeste Provido Apostol would charge each foreigner S$3,500 to S$4,000 and link them up to locals who would be paid a commission for “hiring” them as maids on the foreign domestic worker (FDW) visa. Up to 27 foreigners and 21 locals were involved in the visa scam.

The Filipino works in Singapore as a marketing manager between 2009 and 2011, and began her crime as soon as she landed in Singapore by making false declarations to MOM over 4 years between June 2009 and March 2013. Some of the foreigners who paid her ended up working as freelance cleaners, manicurists and performers, and all foreigners who participated in the scam were jailed to 4 weeks’ jail and fined between S$3,000 and S$10,000. The Singaporeans who participated in the scam were however let off with the hook by MOM with only a ban from hiring any foreign workers in the future.

According to MOM, 78 foreigners were charged for false declarations in employment visa applications in 2014.