After being charged with eight counts of forgery under Section 468 of the Penal Code last week in relation to his alleged involvement in unauthorised transactions worth S$16mil, lawyer Jeffrey Ong Su Aun was handed 13 more charges on Thu (Jun 20) for the offence of cheating.

The court heard that Ong, who was arrested by Malaysian police in Kuala Lumpur last month upon the Singapore Police Force Commercial Affairs Department (CAD)’s request, had used a stolen Malaysian passport “belonging to a person very close to him in age” to leave Malaysia via Tuas Checkpoint.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Nicholas Khoo also told the court that Ong “had disposed of his handphone and he had swapped out the SIM card onto a brand new handphone”, in addition to staying in two locations – his friend’s office and Vivatel Hotel in Cheras – without using credit cards as a payment method.

“Resources were expended” in order to catch Ong, to the point where a “warrant of arrest had to be executed overseas in order to bring the accused back to Singapore”, added Khoo.

While Ong’s defence lawyer Jennifer Sia requested bail on behalf of her client to enable him to “spend some time” with his two-year-old son and to “settle some personal matters”, Khoo argued that the court should not grant Ong bail as he poses a “high flight risk”.

Sia’s request was subsequently rejected by the court.

An investigation officer, in his affidavit which was put forth by Khoo, warned that there was “a real risk that he may abscond” if Ong was released on bail, adding that “the scheme and extent of the fraud perpetrated by the accused is far larger and more complex than what was initially reported in the police report”, CNA reported.

Ong, who is a managing partner at JLC Advisors, was earlier accused of cheating CCJ Investments of S$6 million earlier this year in Feb, and was charged with one count of cheating Section 420 of the Penal Code following his arrest, TODAY reported.

Engineering firm Allied Technologies raised a complaint to CAD after it had flagged a missing sum of over S$33mil from its escrow account held by JLC Advisors, BT reported. Ong went into hiding following the incident.

According to court documents submitted in a hearing last week, Ong had allegedly pretended to be James Tan Kwang Yong, the sole director and shareholder of Suite Development, which is one of the companies he had allegedly cheated.

The documents – which entailed a deed of guarantee, a deed of charge over shares, director’s and shareholder’s resolutions and an instrument of transfer – were purportedly used to trick CCJ Investments into believing that there was a loan agreement between Suite Development and CCJ Investments CCJ out of S$6mil worth of funds, BT observed.

Three clients from his law firm had liaised with CAD to report unauthorised transactions involving funds held for them, according to TODAY.

Ong is due to reappear in court on 11 Jul.

Each count of cheating or forgery carries a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years and also a fine.