Accounts exec jailed 7½ years for siphoning $2.3m to feed gambling habit

Chow Lai Hoong was jailed for 7½ years after she siphoned off more than $2.3 million from two separate companies she worked for.
Chow Lai Hoong was jailed for 7½ years after she siphoned off more than $2.3 million from two separate companies she worked for.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Over a two year period, a 53-year-old accounts executive siphoned off more than $2.3 million from two separate companies she worked for and spent over $720,000 of the ill-gotten cash on casino chips, a court heard.

On Tuesday (June 21), Chow Lai Hoong was jailed for 7½ years for her offences.

She pleaded guilty to 40 out of 380 charges, mostly for forgery of cheques and criminal breach of trust as a servant.

The remaining counts were considered in sentencing.

A district court heard that Chow worked for Paw Leck Engineering from 2012 to late August 2013 and for Crown Construction from November 2013 until late last year.

As an accounts executive at both firms, she had access to their cheque books and also cash.

During her employment with Paw Leck Engineering, between June and August 2013, she forged cheques worth $73,600 and took $17,246.82 in cash. The total loss Chow caused the company was $90,846.82.

During her employment with Crown Construction, between December 2013 and September 2015, she forged cheques worth $2,245,548.75 and took $40,246.05 in cash. The loss she caused the company was $2,285,794.80.

Between February 2014 and September 2015, the court heard, Chow spent $722,350 of her ill-gotten cash on casino chips at Resorts World Sentosa's casino.

The court also heard that when Chow was first charged in court on May 13, last year, her nephew posted bail of $30,000 for her. But later that same day, she passed him back $30,000 using money that came from her criminal proceeds.

She also spent her ill-gotten money on Toto and 4D lottery tickets and a Rolex watch.

In mitigation, Chow's lawyer said she was in dire financial straits due to mounting debts that she had incurred because of her gambling addiction.

Of the $2,376,641.62 that she siphoned off from her two previous employers, only $108,523.47 has been recovered.