Singaporean celebrity Jamie Teo plead guilty on February 4 to failing to prevent Twelve Cupcakes from underpaying foreign staff while the company was under her and her ex-husband’s management from 2013 to 2016.
According to a report from Asia One, Teo “pleaded guilty to 10 counts of failing to prevent Twelve Cupcakes from underpaying the workers – offences under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.”
She and ex-DJ Daniel Ong founded Twelve Cupcakes in 2011 but sold the company to Kolkata-based company Dhunseri Group for $2.5 million in 2016.
They divorced that same year.
What happened to the ex-employees of Twelve Cupcakes?
According to the same report, Teo and Ong jointly decided to hire foreign workers in 2012. Seven of these workers were underpaid between 2013 and 2016. Four of these employees were service executives, two sales executives, and a pastry chef.
The report mentioned that the pastry chef was promised a salary of $2,300 in 2014, but received only $1,600. That period started a trend that resulted in even lower pay for the worker, who did not receive $2,300 monthly from then to mid 2016. The other foreign workers did not received the pay they were promised.
The current owner of Twelve Cupcakes was convicted separately, and was fined on January 12 amounting to $119,500. Seven of its foreign workers also received salaries much less than what they were supposed to get, with one worker only receiving half their wages on certain occasions. Dhunseri Group was convicted on December 10, 2020, of 15 counts of underpaying employees in 2017 and 2018.