SINGAPORE - A former bank officer was sentenced to 11 months in prison on Thursday for cheating three customers into investing a total of $1.17 million in unit trusts, claiming they were principal-guaranteed.
Too Jincai, 31, was a relationship manager with United Overseas Bank at the time.
The three had wanted to place their money in fixed deposits at the UOB branch at Ang Mo Kio Hub but Too convinced them to buy other financial products instead.
He admitted to cheating housewife Wong Mee Foong, 60, by convincing her to buy $20,000 worth of the United Emerging Markets Bond Fund on July 2012, and retiree Lye Choh Hwa, 67, into buying $1 million worth of the same fund in November that year.
He also admitted to deceiving retiree Tan Bee Eng, 60, into placing her $150,000 in Allianz US High Yield AMH2-SGD in September 2013. He told her that she would definitely receive her entire invested sum back after putting her money in the fund for 12 months, which he knew was not true.
Too had even issued assurance letters to them with UOB's letterhead stating that the funds were principal guaranteed.
A district court heard that he did so for the commission.
In his police statement, Too said he had chalked up credit card debt after using credit cards to pay for personal entertainment, family and travel expenses as well as staying in five-star hotels with his then girlfriend, whom he lavished with branded goods.
UOB suffered $102,260 in losses.
Too, an undischarged bankrupt, has since made full restitution.
In his sentencing submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo cited aggravating factors such as the large amount of losses caused, Too's abuse of his position of trust, and that the victims were all vulnerable requiring the protection of the courts.
Too, who had six forgery charges considered during his sentencing, applied successfully through his lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan to defer sentence until after the Chinese New Year.
He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge of cheating.