Tembusu Home employee jailed for taking money from residents' accounts

A former assistant superintendent of the Tembusu Home deceived seven residents into entrusting their ATM cards and personal identification numbers to him for safekeeping.

Chiang Zhao Xiang, now 31, then illegally accessed their bank accounts and misappropriated $220,476 through 169 unauthorised transactions, taking between $8,240 and $99,120 from each victim.

Chiang, who was employed at the home from December 2010 to January 2015, was jailed for 30 months yesterday after pleading guilty to criminal breach of trust. Two counts of cheating two of his seven victims of a total of $32,000 in cash were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Chiang committed the offences between May 2014 and January 2015. Six of his victims were mentally ill, the court heard. Two have since died, with the others now between 53 and 67 years old.

In 2014, he took six of the residents separately to a POSB Bank branch. He told his victims he was taking them to obtain ATM cards so that they could have easy access to their accounts. They later handed him their ATM cards.

In July 2014, he found the seventh man's ATM card in his office and decided to pocket that as well.

Chiang kept his victims' bank books and gave excuses for retaining them in his possession. He eventually handed over five of the bank books to a colleague after repeated requests in December 2014, and the withdrawals for large sums of money were discovered. He came clean on Jan 12, 2015 when confronted.

Chiang's mother helped him make full restitution to the men and the police were notified on Feb 5, 2015.- THE STRAITS TIMES