Interior designer jailed 15 months for misappropriating $20,815

Ong Seow Pang, 42, was working as an interior designer with Design 4 Space Group when he committed criminal breach of trust between September 2012 and January 2013.
Ong Seow Pang, 42, was working as an interior designer with Design 4 Space Group when he committed criminal breach of trust between September 2012 and January 2013.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A man who misappropriated $20,815 from an interior design company was jailed for 15 months on Tuesday (Aug 1).

Ong Seow Pang, 42, was working as an interior designer with Design 4 Space Group when he committed criminal breach of trust between September 2012 and January 2013. He pleaded guilty to the charge in July.

A district court heard that some time in 2012, the company engaged Ong to work on a commission basis, which means his remuneration came from the profit earned, if any, on renovation contracts he procured on behalf of the company.

He was authorised to enter into renovation contracts on behalf of the company, and his responsibilities included collecting payment from clients and handing these over to the company.

On Dec 7, 2012, an administrative employee of the firm sent a routine text message to one of its clients, Ms Ow Wai Yin, acknowledging her payment via cheque of $10,380. Ms Ow then said that she had also issued a separate cash cheque of $6,800 to Ong as payment.

But the company did not receive that cash cheque.

When confronted, Ong admitted that he had misappropriated the sum. He also admitted to several other instances of misappropriation.

Later, the company continued to receive several complaints from Ong's clients regarding uncompleted works.

The owner of the company lodged a police report on Jan 25, 2013.

The court heard that the $20,815 misappropriated by Ong between September 2012 and January 2013 from the company's clients.

From this amount, he used Ms Ow's $6,800 and $2,800 from another customer, Mr Deva Raj, to fund the interior design projects of a separate company, Interiorz Design Studio, which he had set up.

He made restitution of only $5,000.

Ong had similar convictions in 2003, 2009 and 2010, and was last given 10 months' jail.

He could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined for criminal breach of trust as an agent.