Singapore

Accounts executive gets 7½ years for stealing $1.7 million from company

She pays off husband's debt with stolen money

Over 6½ years, an accounts executive stole $1.7 million from the company she worked for.

She forged her boss' signature on cheques, and doctored bank statements by printing and pasting false numbers on them.

Yesterday, Wong Huey Min was sentenced to 90 months' jail after she admitted to 20 of 159 counts of forgery when she was working for Royal Garment Factory (RGF).

She is appealing against her sentence and bail of $250,000 has been granted.

The 56-year-old had been entrusted with the cheque books of RGF and Royal Realty, which was owned by RGF managing director Heng Yang How, according to the prosecution.

When Mr Heng needed to issue cheques, Wong would fill up the necessary details before he signed them. Between 2009 and 2015, she forged Mr Heng's signature on cheques and issued them to herself or her husband.

These forged cheques would be deposited by Wong or an unwitting colleague into bank accounts, or withdrawn in cash by Wong.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tow Chew Chi said Wong managed to evade detection because she was the main person in charge of RGF from 2010 onwards, and was trusted fully to handle its finances.

When the bank accounts that the forged cheques were drawn on became low on funds, Wong would make deposits into the accounts to prolong her offending behaviour.

When Mr Heng asked to view the accounts, Wong would tell him everything was under control and he need not worry about it.

In 2013, the bank statements of the affected accounts were inconsistent with their respective company accounts.

To cover it up, Wong forged the bank statements. She typed certain figures in her computer, printed them out and pasted them on the original statements, before photocopying the forged documents for RGF's record.

In all, she siphoned $1.67 million over six years and four months. She used the money mostly to pay off her husband's gambling debts.

No restitution has been made.

AGGRAVATING FACTORS

The prosecution had sought a jail sentence of at least 96 months, citing aggravating factors such as the high level of trust placed in Wong, the long period of offending and substantial amount involved.

District Judge Wong Li Tein agreed and said the breach of trust had resulted in serious losses.

She said Wong was systematic, persistent, clear-minded and deliberate as she was able to cover up her wrongdoing.

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