Court convicts Kenneth Goh Jia Poh for multiple offences under the Securities and Futures Act
Between 6 January 2016 and 20 September 2018, Mr Goh repeatedly entered and deleted buy orders for multiple securities for which he had no intention to fill. Through such “spoofing and layering”, Mr Goh had intended to create a false appearance of interest in these securities, so as to induce other market participants to trade at prices favourable to him. Once his trades were fulfilled, he would delete all the fictitious orders. Four of the accounts that Mr Goh used to enter the fictitious orders did not belong to him, nor was he granted permission from the relevant brokerage firms to use these accounts.
Between 30 July and 26 August 2020, while undergoing investigation for false trading, Mr Goh made false statements on nine occasions in a Telegram chat group to induce members in the chat group to purchase shares in the securities which he held. His false statements included overstating his target price for the securities and claiming that he had purchased shares in the securities when he had not.
Mr Goh pleaded guilty to the following charges:
(i) One charge for creating a false appearance on 325 occasions with respect to the market for multiple securities under section 197(1)(b) of the SFA.
(ii) Two charges for deceiving UOB Kay Hian Pte Ltd and OCBC Securities Pte Ltd under section 201(b) of the SFA.
(iii) One charge for making false statements to induce others to trade under section 200(1)(a) of the SFA.
Four remaining charges under the SFA, comprising one charge under section 197(1)(b), two charges under section 201(b), and one charge under section 200(1)(a) for conspiring with another person to make false statements, were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.
Mr Goh’s conviction was a result of a joint investigation conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force. The investigations against Mr Goh arose from referrals by the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited.
Ms Loo Siew Yee, Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments & Financial Crime), MAS, said, “MAS does not condone trading behaviour that distorts and interferes with the proper discovery of price and market demand for securities. The present case is also a reminder that investors should be alert to the risks of trading based on recommendations or claims in online discussion forums and social media chat groups.”