She embezzled $1.3m from family business
Woman jailed 12 years for forgery and criminal breach of trust — again
She embezzled $1.3 million from her company over almost four years by forging more than 200 cheques to feed her gambling habit.
She also doctored bank statements and the company's cheque book stubs to cover her tracks.
But an audit eventually revealed secretary Lim Hoon Choo's devious scheme.
Yesterday, Lim, now 62, was jailed 12 years for criminal breach of trust (CBT) and forgery.
This was not her first brush with the law. She has a long history of white-collar offences dating back to 1983, the court heard. Before this latest spate of offences, Lim had been jailed for nine years in 1999 for misappropriating $3.1 million using a similar modus operandi, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Jun Hong.
She was released after about seven years and began working as a secretary for investment management firm New Asian Capital in April 2008.
Court papers said she worked alone at the company's office in Jalan Sultan and her responsibilities involved issuing cheques on behalf of the company,
as well as the family business' patriarch, Mr Ng Eng Ghee.
She was given access to bank accounts of both the company and Mr Ng.
In February 2010, she began forging cheques by signing them with Mr Ng's signature, which she had practised.
She made the cheques out to her name as her employers only knew her as ''Eve''.
To cover her tracks, she would falsely reflect the transactions as ''credit card payments'' on the bank statements and the company's cheque book stubs.
She would also ensure the amounts recorded in the official documents were less than the amounts stated on the cheques, to not arouse suspicion.
Between February 2010 and September 2013, she siphoned $1.3 million from the company and gambled most of the money away at casinos in Malaysia.
She was discovered after an audit revealed the missing money.
Mr Ng made a police report in October 2013.
Lim returned only about 10 per cent of the misappropriated money.
Yesterday, Lim pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal breach of trust and five counts of forgery, with seven other charges taken into consideration for sentencing.
She kept her head bowed throughout the hearing.
DPP Tan, in his submissions, called Lim a seasoned criminal skilled at avoiding detection.
He said Lim had ample opportunity over the four years to regret her mistakes and stop offending, but showed neither contrition nor remorse.
Defence counsel Benjamin Frois said in mitigation that his client had committed the offences because she felt stressed and overworked by her employer, whom she had claimed did not treat her well.
But District Judge Low Wee Ping rejected her claim and called it absurd. The judge also noted her long history of offending, which started in 1983 when Lim, then 29, was jailed eight months for CBT.
In 1988, she was jailed two years for CBT and cheating charges.
The judge, however, particularly noted her 1999 conviction.
She had been jailed for altering nearly 500 company cheques to cheat her company out of more than $3 million, and using it to buy a BMW and to take friends and relatives on holidays abroad.
''One would have thought your criminal career would have stopped there, but now you stand here before me having misappropriated (another) $1.3 million,'' Judge Low said.
New Asian Capital could not be reached for comment.
Lim Hoon Choo (above), 62, a former secretary of New Asian Capital