Cough-syrup cheat gets treatment order

Eileen Siak, who has codeine dependency, will receive mandatory psychiatric treatment instead of going to jail.
Eileen Siak, who has codeine dependency, will receive mandatory psychiatric treatment instead of going to jail.

Housewife posed as former employer's clients to dupe docs into giving her codeine

A housewife with a codeine dependency, who duped 18 doctors into giving her cough syrup containing the drug, was sentenced yesterday to a mandatory treatment order (MTO) for a year.

An MTO is for offenders who suffer from psychiatric conditions. They must go for psychiatric treatment in lieu of jail time.

Eileen Siak, now 33, pleaded guilty in court on Nov 17 last year to seven counts of cheating involving $265. Fourteen other cheating charges involving $260 were taken into consideration.

She must now seek treatment at the Institute of Mental Health, the court heard.

To obtain her fix, she impersonated several women between April 23, 2014 and March 4, 2015 to cheat the doctors.

Siak had worked for a wellness company between 2009 and 2011.

As an accounts manager, she received a customer database which contained their personal particulars. She saved it in her private e-mail folder and then used the customers' details to register for appointments at polyclinics.

Posing as the company's clients, she obtained her supply of cough medicine between April and August 2014, and again on March 4, 2015, despite not having a cough.

Initially, she paid for her medication but she later decided to walk away without paying.

The court heard that she frequented two National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP) in Bukit Batok and Jurong.

Her crime spree ended after an NHGP senior manager made a police report on March 16, 2015.

Siak's lawyer Josephus Tan said she has been suffering from codeine dependency since June 2013. Mr Tan asked for the MTO so that she could be "a constructive part of our society and for her own future benefit".

For each cheating charge, she could have been jailed up to three years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2017, with the headline 'Cough-syrup cheat gets treatment order'. Print Edition | Subscribe