Desperate times call for desperate measures. This was something a British expat based in Singapore decided to live by after he lost his job and ran into financial trouble. The permanent resident feared that the authorities would not extend his Filipino wife’s long-term visit pass as he could not continue sponsoring her stay in the city-state.
And in order to not worry his wife, the British expatriate wrote eight fake emails, supposedly by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and prominent law firm Drew & Napier, telling her that her visit pass had been extended.
Expat Sent to Jail for Forging Emails to Convince Wife to Remain in SG
The man kept on with the lie he made his Filipino wife believe for almost three years before the law caught up with them in August last year, as shared in a report by the Malay Mail.
On Friday (September 13), David Andrew Hygate was sentenced to 14 weeks’ jail and a fine worth SGD $8,000.
The 51-year-old Briton pleaded guilty to all three charges of forgery and abetment by helping his wife Marilou Cambo to remain in Singapore illegally from September 2015 to August 2018.
Seven other similar charges were also taken into consideration for Hygate’s sentencing.
Of note, Hygate’s Filipina spouse was handed a similar sentence last month. Her husband said that she has finished serving it and has returned to the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Hygate who appeared unrepresented by a lawyer before court defended in mitigation that his actions were “due to his desperate sense and irrational thought”, and were solely because he wanted to be with his wife, Marilou.
The couple fell into a difficult financial state when David had lost his job, having no home for “many months” and living only in budget hotel rooms during those times.
Hygate explained, “All these stupid emails were totally out of character. Nothing I did was to cheat Singapore or for any monetary benefit.”
As per court statements, Hygate has been a documented permanent resident of Singapore since 2009.
He applied for a long-term visit pass for Marilou sometime in February 2014, and in September, she was granted a year-long pass. However, court records did not specify when the two actually got married.
After losing his job, Hygate reportedly decided to forge the emails so that Marilou would not question him about the status of her pass.
On August 20 of last year, ICA officers referred the couple to its enforcement division for further investigations, after ascertaining that Marilou was an immigration violator. After which, authorities were able to trace the fake e-mail messages sent to Marilou’s mobile phone by her husband.