Ex-accounts supervisor jailed for forgery and criminal breach of trust

SINGAPORE - A former employee of a hair treatment centre was jailed for 16 months on Friday for forgery and criminal breach of trust totalling more than $200,000.

Lee Wei Loon, 42, was working as an accounts supervisor at Beijing 101 Consultants at Penang Road when he committed 19 counts of forgery and one of misappropriating of company funds in 2013.

He admitted to five counts of forgery involving $20,000 each and criminal breach of trust of $8,252.

Investigations showed that between Aug 6 and 21 that year, he forged 19 cheques drawn on the company and its related companies' bank accounts for a total of $303,158.

He received $283,158. He admitted to the police that he did so because he was greedy.

The court heard that he forged the signatures of two company directors to deceive the banks into believing that the cheques were issued by them in his favour.

Apart from signing on the cheques, he would write his bank account number and his particulars on the back of the cheques before depositing them into the cheque deposit box at United Overseas Bank in People's Park Complex.

A few days before Aug 6 that year, he was alone in the office when he took two cheques from a box on a colleague's desk.

He practised forging the two directors' signatures multiple times before finally signing the cheques and depositing it into the UOB cheque deposit box.

When that cheque was cleared, he proceeded to deposit more cheques.

The court was told that when he was supposed to bank in the $8,252 collected by two subordinates from customers at road shows, he pocketed the money.

One of the directors received a call from UOB on Aug 27 that year, asking him if he had issued a $20,000 cheque to Lee. He denied it and the cheque was not cleared.

The director confronted Lee who confessed his wrongdoing.

Lee had since returned $292,449 to the company, which is $1,039 more than the loss suffered.

Lee said in mitigation that he was naive and stupid. He said his parents sold their HDB flat for him to make restitution, and that his brother looked down on him for causing financial stress to his parents.

He could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined on each charge of forgery. The maximum punishment for criminal breach of trust is seven years and a fine.