Former PCF centre principal sentenced to 5 months' jail for misappropriating $79,000

Anna Koh was sentenced to five months' jail on Friday after dishonestly misappropriating cash totalling $79,136.30 from the PAP Community Foundation she used to work in.
Anna Koh was sentenced to five months' jail on Friday after dishonestly misappropriating cash totalling $79,136.30 from the PAP Community Foundation she used to work in.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A former PAP Community Foundation (PCF) centre principal was sentenced to five months' jail on Friday after dishonestly misappropriating cash totalling $79,136.30 from her then-workplace at the ground floor of Block 515, Jurong West Street 52.

Anna Koh, alias Susie Koh, now 54, committed the offence between 2010 and 2012.

On Jan 26, she pleaded guilty to one count of criminal breach of trust involving $50,409.45.

Two other similar charges involving the remaining amount was taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) David Koh said, as the centre principal, she was entrusted with all fees collected by the PCF centre. These included school, registration and outing fees. Pupils' parents would pay the teachers these fees and they in turn would hand the money to Koh.

If the fees collected exceeded $500, she was supposed to deposit the money into the centre's bank account by the next working day. She was the only officer entrusted to perform these deposits.

She started misappropriating the money in 2010.

DPP Koh said: "She would deposit part of the sums that were collected from the parents and misappropriate the remainder. The accused spent the money on her personal and family expenses."

Her offences came to light after an anonymous tip-off to the PCF on Oct 5, 2012.

An internal audit later conducted showed that Koh had received fees without banking them in and a police report was made three months later.

The court heard that she had made no restitution.

Her lawyer, Mr Wendell Wong originally asked for District Judge Jasvender Kaur to call for a pre-sentence report to determine his client's suitability for probation.

Otherwise, he urged the judge to sentence Koh to between two and three months' jail.

Mr Wong said, his client was then facing financial difficulties and it was the result of a "matrimonial betrayal" by her ex-husband who had incurred debts of about $90,000.

He added: "The entire burden of discharging these debts as well as the family's financial burden fell squarely on Ms Koh's shoulders after her then-husband abandoned her and their children."

On Friday, Judge Kaur said that there was a not a need to call for the pre-sentence report.

She said that Koh should have looked for lawful ways to ease her financial burden and that she had taken advantage of her trusted position as the centre's principal.

For criminal breach of trust, Koh could have been jailed up to 15 years and fined.