Recent ICAC Cases

10
Nov 2020
Plumbing subcontractor jailed for wage fraud

A director of a plumbing subcontractor, charged by the ICAC, was today (November 10) sentenced to five months’ imprisonment at the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts for defrauding a main contractor of additional wages totalling about $250,000 by overstating the daily wages of two workers.

Walter Wong Chun-ming, 40, director of Legend Plumbing Engineering Limited (Legend), earlier pleaded guilty to one count of fraud, contrary to Section 16A(1) of the Theft Ordinance.

In sentencing, Principal Magistrate Miss Ivy Chui Yee-mei said the case involved a premeditated scam lasted quite some time whereby employment contracts which did not reflect the actual wages of workers were used. The offence, which resembled the acceptance of illegal rebates in nature, was serious.

The principal magistrate said she took a starting point of nine months’ imprisonment and reduced the defendant’s jail term to five months in view of his guilty plea and repayment.

The defendant was earlier ordered by the principal magistrate to repay about $250,000, which was equivalent to the amount of additional wages involved in the case, as restitution to the main contractor concerned.

The case arose from a corruption complaint. Subsequent ICAC enquiries revealed the above offence.

The court heard that part of the plumbing works of a remodelling project for an office complex in Tsim Sha Tsui was subcontracted to Legend, an engineering company specialised in plumbing works, in 2014. On behalf of Legend, the defendant signed employment contracts with a number of workers and their wages were paid by the main contractor of the project.

In January 2016, the defendant recruited two workers to work for the remodelling project at daily wages of $850 and $700 respectively. In their employment contracts submitted to the main contractor by the defendant, their daily wages were however inflated to $1,150.

The court heard that between January 2016 and June 2018, the two workers received salary payments totalling over $1.48 million from the main contractor. During the period, the duo returned a total of about $250,000 overpayments to the defendant.

The main contractor would not have released salary payments to the duo in accordance with their employment contracts should it have knowledge that the daily wages stated on their contracts did not reflect the actual amount of payments they would receive.

The main contractor concerned had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

The prosecution was today represented by ICAC officer Kevin Lam.

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