In a news article published by Channel News Asia on 21 June 2016, a 53-year old accounts executive was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for a fraud case involving about S$2.3 million.

The Incident

The accused was found to have pocketed S$2,376,641 from two employers over the course of three years by forging hundreds of cheques and misappropriated thousands of dollars in cash.

She had also converted S$722,350 of that money into casino chips and also passed an undisclosed portion of the money to her nephew.

Her actions resulted in significant financial losses to her employers. According to the Deputy Public Prosecutor, the losses amounted to S$90,846 and S$2,285,740 for the first and second employers respectively.

The Defence

The accused was represented in court by Amarjit Singh Sidhu who stated that his client had been struggling financially because of a gambling addiction. He also noted that she is married with three children and was the sole breadwinner of the family. She also supported her brother and sister who are both living with her.

He also added that the accused was remorseful about the incident, and urged the court to show compassion “in light of (her) unfortunate and regrettable set of circumstances” at the time.

Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu also acknowledged that the accused has a criminal record for criminal breach of trust and said that a six or seven years’ jail term would be appropriate.

The Verdict

408.–  Whoever, being a clerk or servant, or employed as a clerk or servant, and being in any manner entrusted in such capacity with property, or with any dominion over property, commits criminal breach of trust in respect of that property, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 15 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Under the Penal Code’s criminal breach of trust section, this case would fall under Section 408 as it involves an employee entrusted with the company’s property and if found guilty, the accused can be imprisoned for up to 15 years per charge, and ordered to pay a fine. Her acts of forgery are also liable for the same punishments – per charge.

In this case, she pleaded guilty to 40 out of 380 counts, most of which were for cheque forgery. She was also found guilty of two counts under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act for converting some of the money into casino chips, as well as transferring some of the money to her nephew.

The prosecution sought an eight-year jail term for her, citing aggravating factors such as abusing her position to forge cheques and misappropriate cash belonging to her employers. She also did not make restitution, although S$108,523, or just 4.5% of the total amount was recovered.

She was eventually sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.

Our Criminal Lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, has defended numerous clients who found themselves in situations ranging from criminal breach of trust to maid abuse. With vast experience in Singapore’s laws, and being involved in several highly-publicised cases as a criminal lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, or if you have been caught in a situation, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

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