Woman jailed for steal­ing S$1.6m from em­ployer

She pil­fered the sum over a pe­riod of six years to pay off hus­band’s gam­bling debts

Today - - SINGAPORE | NEWS - AL­FRED CHUA al­fred­chuam@me­di­a­corp.com.sg

SIN­GA­PORE — She forged her boss’ sig­na­ture on 159 cheques over a span of six years and made off with more than S$1.6 mil­lion.

Wong Huey Min, a for­mer ac­counts ex­ec­u­tive at Royal Gar­ment Fac­tory, was yes­ter­day sen­tenced to 7½ years (90 months) in jail af­ter plead­ing guilty last month to 20 counts of forgery. Another 139 sim­i­lar charges were taken into con­sid­er­a­tion by District Judge Wong Li Tein for her sen­tenc­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, most of the money si­phoned was used to pay off her hus­band’s gam­bling debts, al­though no de­tails were given.

Wong, 55, has made no resti­tu­tion so far. Her lawyer said she would be ap­peal­ing against her sen­tence.

Wong, who was in charge of the com­pany’s cheque­books, de­vised a plan some­time in 2009 to forge her boss’ sig­na­ture on cheques, with the in­ten­tion of si­phon­ing the money for her­self or her hus­band, whose iden­tity was not men­tioned in court doc­u­ments.

The court heard that she was also en­trusted with the cheque­books of Royal Realty, another com­pany run by the same owner, Mr Heng Yang How.

The fol­low­ing year, she was given full con­trol over Royal Gar­ment Fac­tory’s fi­nances.

When Mr Heng asked to view the com­pany’s ac­counts, Wong would claim that ev­ery­thing was un­der con­trol.

Red flags sur­faced in 2013, when the bank state­ments of the two com­pa­nies did not tally with records of com­pany ac­counts kept by Wong.

To cover up, she forged bank state­ments by print­ing out fig­ures from a com­puter and past­ing them on the orig­i­nal bank state­ments, be­fore pho­to­copy­ing the doc­u­ments, said the prose­cu­tion, which sought a jail term of at least eight years.

In 2015, a share­holder of Royal Gar­ment smelled a rat and lodged a po­lice re­port. Wong had pock­eted some S$1.67 mil­lion by then. De­fence lawyer Diana Ngiam said that Wong was re­morse­ful for her ac­tions.

The district judge noted that the amount pock­eted was high, and that Wong was “only able to do so be­cause of the high lev­els of trust” vested in her by her boss.

She was “sys­tem­atic” and “per­sis­tent” and “knew how to take (the money) with­out de­tec­tion”, said DJ Wong, who also noted the pro­longed pe­riod over which the of­fences were car­ried out and the lack of resti­tu­tion.

Wong’s case had been ad­journed from Aug 24, when she was con­victed, so that she could carry out a trans­fer of prop­erty to re­pay the funds taken. This was part of an agree­ment with her for­mer com­pany, but the court heard yes­ter­day that Wong would not be do­ing so.

Wong’s re­quest to de­fer her sen­tence to Oct 2 — so she could com­plete serv­ing the one month’s no­tice with her cur­rent em­ployer — was also re­jected by the judge, who said she should have re­signed ear­lier.

To cover up, she forged bank state­ments by print­ing out fig­ures from a com­puter and past­ing them on the orig­i­nal bank state­ments, be­fore pho­to­copy­ing the doc­u­ments.

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