Accountant jailed for misappropriating $218k

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An accountant who misappropriated $218,746 from a company over a period of around 10 months was jailed for 18 months on Thursday (July 27).

Lee Kian Hua, 45, now unemployed, pleaded guilty to a single charge of criminal breach of trust while being employed as an accountant at Excelle International in Yishun Industrial Street 1 between Sept 4, 2015, and June 21, 2016.

The company is in the business of selling bed linen.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jordon Li said that in the course of her employment, Lee was entrusted with the company's cash sales proceeds, which she had to pack in amounts of less than $30,000 per polymer bag so as to avoid bank deposit charges.

On June 21 last year, Excelle director Goh Xuan Li handed $59,419 to Lee and told her to pack the money into two polymer bags.

Shortly after, Lee handed over two polymer bags with the money to Madam Goh. Madam Goh counted the money inside the two bags and discovered that there was a shortfall of $4,857.

Suspecting that Lee had misappropriated the money, Madam Goh informed her husband, who then called the police.

When the police arrived, they found $4,857 in Lee's handbag. Lee admitted that she had pocketed the money by taking a stack that was handed to her by the victim, without counting the amount of cash.

She also admitted to misappropriating money in the same way on multiple occasions.

She has made full restitution. Her lawyer, Mr T.M. Sinnadurai, said Lee, who has four children, understands the seriousness of the offence and is not making any excuses for what she has done. She is truly remorseful for her actions, he said.

Lee could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined for the offence.

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