The Strange Case of SITCFebruary 9, 2006
A firm funded largely by Singaporeans and which runs a chain of private education centres?is on the verge of financial collapse in Vietnam. The Singapore International Teaching Consultancy (SITC) has had to close at least seven of its branches in various Vietnamese cities.
This is a how a total scam and blatant fraud works.
Singaporean investors approach a local businessman to become a silent partner, they then start a business with this persons name on all of the business document, they then pay $20,000+ dollars to set up each of the schools, this silent investor is then paid $2000+ a month to sit on their arse at home which for many Viets and Khmers is an irresistible offer, they then rent buildings and fill them with crap furniture, computers etc to at least make it look like a school, hire anybody to teach and run the admin (not finance) side of the business, all fees are paid into one account then each month money is sent back to the school to cover costs.
The school offers lessons with foreign teachers for very low rates; the school quickly fills up but is barely breaking even although full to the rafters, then when the numbers are up to maximum capacity they have a promotion where if students pay this year’s fee now they will get next year free or some equally unbelievable offer.
Thousands of students sign up and the school generates a sizable amount of money ($US millions) which is taken by the investors as always, then they stop sending the check to cover costs to the school management, the school then scrapes by on credit and hand outs to staff for a few months to give the investors time to do a runner then it all comes crashing down. At this phase it is all blamed on some “director” who no one has ever met and let the stupid local “silent” partner takes the fall.
They have pulled this stunt in Phnom Penh twice already at APIS and AIMS. My guess is SITC will be next; the investors are never linked to each school collapse as all of the local documents are in the name of the local partner who has probably been given false names of the real investors/scam artist and is a different sucker every time.
My bet is that there are no Singaporean investors and the contact the local silent investors receive is really from Nigerians.
If you are working for one of these outfits, walk out of the door the day your first pay check is late. As for the students; they are the ones to really feel sorry for.