Ex-accounts assistant jailed 30 months for CBT of $237K

Former accounts assistant Cheang Wai Ling, 55, was jailed for 30 months.
Former accounts assistant Cheang Wai Ling, 55, was jailed for 30 months.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A former accounts assistant, who misappropriated more than $200,000 over four years from her employer, was jailed for 30 months on Wednesday (Dec 2).

Cheang Wai Ling, 55, now unemployed, was working for SUTL Marina Development at One15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove when she committed the offences.

She admitted to two charges involving a total of $146,610. Three other charges were considered in sentencing.

Among her duties at the yacht club was to handle its credit card sales and refunds to customers. She was given access to the refund function of the credit card terminal in club's finance office.

The terminal was linked to SUTL Marina's bank account.

Whenever refunds needed to be made to club members or customers, Cheang would use theterminal to credit money directly into the credit card accounts of the members or customers.

From May 2008 to June 5, 2012, on 237 occasions, she unlawfully transferred a total of $236,990 into either her five credit card accounts or her husband's three credit card accounts to offset her outstanding credit card bills accumulated from her spending on shoes, clothes, car instalment payments, mobile phone services and meals.

On June 6, 2012, the bank alerted SUTL Marina that $16,610 had been transferred to Cheang's credit card account.

The company confronted her and demanded that she return $16,610 by June 8, which she did.

SUTL Marina then conducted internal investigations and discovered the other misappropriations. A police report was made on Feb 24 last year.

Seeking a sentence of about 36 months' jail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo said Cheang's restitution was very small. He said the offences were perpetrated over almost five years and the amounts taken escalated over the years.

Her lawyer Joseph Ignatius said Cheang had to work after Primary Six due to family circumstances.

Her husband lost his job in 2008 and the couple resorted to using their credit cards to pay for expenses, including medical bills for her cancer-stricken mother and her father who has dementia.

She could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined on each charge of criminal breach of trust as a servant.