Ex-legal secretary fined for criminal breach of trust of $2,650

Seet, who paid the fine, could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for criminal breach of trust.
Seet, who paid the fine, could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for criminal breach of trust.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A former law firm conveyancing secretary was fined $3,000 on Wednesday (Sept 2) for misappropriating $2,650.

Seet Wan Heng, 55, pleaded guilty to criminal breach of trust of the amount at Messrs Yeo & Associates in Anson Road in 2012.

A district court heard that one of her duties was to collect payment from clients for the firm.

Between Feb 7, 2012 and March 29 that year, she collected sums of $250 to $1,000 in cash from each of four clients and used the money for her personal expenditure.

Her former boss, Ms Yeo Poh Tiang, 34, a director of the firm, reported her to the police on May 27 that year.

Seet, who now works in retail sales in a department store, has since made full restitution.

In his written mitigation plea, her lawyer Wee Pan Lee said at the time, Seet was undergoing a period of great emotional and personal distress. She was also under considerable stress to repay some personal debts that she had incurred.

He said it had always been her intention to make up for the wrongful acts by returning the money to the firm when she was able to do so, but she was unfortunately found out.

Despite full restitution having been made even before she was charged, the counsel alleged that his client was subjected to considerable pressure and unwarranted demands from Ms Yeo. The matter, he added, is now being investigated by the police and the Law Society.

Seet, who paid the fine, could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for criminal breach of trust.