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Woman stole more than S$2m from two firms

SINGAPORE — A 53-year-old accounts executive, who pocketed more than S$2 million from her two employers over two years by forging cheques and misappropriating money entrusted to her, was convicted in court on Thursday (June 9).

Woman stole more than S$2m from two firms

Singapore banknotes. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — A 53-year-old accounts executive, who pocketed more than S$2 million from her two employers over two years by forging cheques and misappropriating money entrusted to her, was convicted in court on Thursday (June 9).

Chow Lai Hoong pleaded guilty to 40 charges of forgery, criminal breach of trust by a servant, and using her criminal proceeds for other purposes — including blowing more than S$700,000 of her loot at the casino. Another 340 similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that Chow worked for Paw Leck Engineering between 2012 and late August 2013, where her responsibilities included collecting payments from customers and handling cheque payments. She also had access to the firm’s cheque books.

On July 8, 2013, Chow filled in her own name on the blank payee field of a cheque, which was handed to her by one of the firm’s clients. She later deposited the cheque, worth S$13,000, into her own bank account and withdrew the amount in cash.

On seven occasions between July 22 and Aug 20 that year, Chow also collected a combined S$17,246.82 from a customer on the engineering firm’s behalf. Instead of depositing the money into the firm’s bank account, she used it for herself, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ang Siok Chen said.

After her employment was terminated at Paw Leck Engineering, Chow moved to Crown Construction, where her job scope included managing the petty cash fund of the company and she had access to the company’s cheque books.

Between January and December 2014, she dishonestly misappropriated S$40,216.05 from the petty cash fund, which was used to make claims for company-related expenses. She made false claims and used the monies for herself, DPP Ang said.

During her time with the construction firm, she issued cheques by forging the signatures of two of the authorised signatories of the firm’s overdraft account, and also deposited company cheques into her own bank account.

Between February 2014 and September last year, Chow then used S$722,350 from that particular account to convert them into gambling chips at the casino in Resorts World Sentosa.

When she was first charged in court in May last year, Chow handed S$30,000 — which were part of her proceeds from her criminal conduct — to reimburse her nephew for bailing her out. In all, she pocketed close to S$2,286,000 from Crown Construction alone. No restitution has been made for the monies she took from both firms.

Chow’s case will be heard again on June 22. For each of her forgery and criminal breach of trust charges, she may be jailed up to 15 years and fined.

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