Financial consultant gets 22 months' jail for forging documents to feed gambling addiction

SINGAPORE - A personal financial consultant who forged bank documents and used $73,900 out of the $95,000 he obtained illegally to gamble at casinos was jailed for 22 months on Tuesday.

Lee Cheng Liang, 29, joined OCBC bank in January 2011 and was working at the bank's Bedok North branch during the period of his offences.

Sometime in October 2012, the branch manager noticed several cash deposits Lee made over the counter into an account in his father's name. Her suspicion was aroused by the high frequency of deposits and large amounts involved.

Investigations subsequently uncovered the offences, which took place from July to October 2012.

In July 2012, Lee had opened the OCBC savings account in his father's name without the man's knowledge. Lee forged his father's signature on the application form.

Lee then took out personal loans from Standard Chartered Bank in his father's name.

At the time, Lee had reached the credit limit for his existing credit facilities. As of November 2012, he had an outstanding credit of $45,616.51 with several banks.

Lee also transferred money from clients' accounts into the account he set up, after forging bank documents.

Lee's clients were later compensated by OCBC using funds in Lee's own bank account.

He was sacked on Nov 15, 2012.

Lee pleaded guilty to four charges of forgery for the purpose of cheating, and five charges of using the benefits of criminal conduct under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. Two charges of forgery and 15 charges of using the benefits of criminal acts were taken into consideration.

For committing forgery for the purpose of cheating, Lee faced up to 10 years in jail and a fine for each charge. The penalty for an offence under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act is a fine of up to $500,000, or up to seven years' jail, or both.