Former Manager of Joseph Schooling Swim School Charged with Fraud in Singapore

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Photo Courtesy: Brian Jenkins - UVM Athletics

Former Manager of Joseph Schooling Swim School Charged with Fraud in Singapore

Mohamed Hafidz Ja’afar, a former manager of Joseph Schooling’s swim school in Singapore, was charged with 21 counts of fraud and related offenses in a court last week.

The Singapore government alleges that the 38-year-old bilked 21 people out of S$87,000 (around USD $65,000) by selling fake tickets to high-profile soccer matches and concerts from 2017-19. Allegations first surfaced in 2019, at which point Hafidz was fired from his role as a manger at Swim Schooling.

Hafidz worked in communications for the Singapore Swimming Association in 2016, at the time of Schooling’s star turn at the Rio Olympics. He was hired as an administrator at Swim Schooling in 2017 and later promoted to manager.

Court documents indicate that he intends to plead guilty. Hafidz is out on bail and will return to court on Oct. 8. He faces up to 10 years in jail for each charge.

Hafidz was arrested in July 2019 after several people claimed to have bought tickets from him to an International Champions Cup (ICC) football match between Manchester United and Inter Milan. After payments, to Hafidz, the clients never received tickets and couldn’t contact Hafidz. That led to larger questions of Hafidz’s dealings, and the probe expanded to include allegedly fraudulent tickets for a US concert in 2019 as well as shoe and apparel deals that weren’t delivered on.

Schooling became an icon in Singapore in 2016, becoming the nation’s first ever Olympic gold medalist in any sport. He won the men’s 100-meter butterfly in an Olympic record of 50.39, spoiling Michael Phelps’ bid at a four-peat in the event. The University of Texas grad finished ahead of a three-way tie for silver. With the S$1 million bonus from the Games, he set up Swim Schooling, using his newfound national fame to grow the sport in the country.

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