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Former accountant fined S$6,500 for taking S$6,394 in fees paid to childcare centre

SINGAPORE — While working as an administrative officer and accountant at a childcare centre, Juliena Amir pocketed S$6,394 in total on 19 occasions.

Juliena Amir kept the cash that parents paid for their child’s school fees or field trips at Ilham Childcare Centre, and used the money for her own spending.

Juliena Amir kept the cash that parents paid for their child’s school fees or field trips at Ilham Childcare Centre, and used the money for her own spending.

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SINGAPORE — While working as an administrative officer and accountant at a childcare centre, Juliena Amir pocketed S$6,394 in total on 19 occasions.

Over about seven months, she took money from the students’ parents or grandparents, such as by instructing them to transfer the children’s school fees into her personal bank account.

On Wednesday (July 24), the 41-year-old, who is now working as an accounts executive at a different company, was fined S$6,500 in the State Courts.

She pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust, for which she could have been jailed up to seven years, or fined, or both.

The court heard that Juliena worked at Ilham Childcare Centre in Boon Lay when she took the money between December 2017 and June last year.

As part of her job, she collected school fees, issued invoices to parents, handled the paperwork for employees’ salaries, and prepared financial reports and audit documents.

Her offences first came to light when she told the childcare centre director, Ms Shahidah Ayoob Angullia, that a student had not paid her school and registration fees for 10 months.

When Ms Shahidah questioned Juliena, she blamed an ex-principal of the centre who was not involved in financial matters there.

Growing suspicious, Ms Shahidah investigated the matter and realised what Juliena had done.

Among other methods she used to get the money into her own pockets, Juliena kept the cash that parents paid for their child’s school fees or field trips. This is even though the centre did not allow parents to make cash payments.

Juliena told the parents that the electronic payment system Nets was not available and convinced them to pay by cash, or she gave them her personal bank account number instead of the centre’s.

She admitted that she spent about S$3,000 to S$4,000 of the money on her own expenses.

She has since made full restitution to her former employer.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhou Yang sought a fine of at least S$6,000, noting that there was a “high degree of trust reposed” in Juliena, and that “the period of offending was rather substantial”.

Her lawyer, Mr TM Sinnadurai, told District Judge Prem Raj that it was her first offence, and the centre has been compensated for its loss. Her actions were due to “lapses in judgment”, he said.

“After June 2018, she was out of a job. She was looking for sources to gain funds to pay for the restitution. This took her some time — she couldn’t make restitution immediately, but in any event she managed to get some funds to pay. That is a sign of her remorse,” he added.

The judge said he took into account Juliena’s plea of guilt and mitigation, but added that there was “also deceit practised”.

Related topics

crime court childcare centre accountant criminal breach of trust fine

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