Maid jailed over $108k cheque forgery

A maid who forged her employer's signature on 42 cheques to pay herself more than $108,000 was jailed for 21 months yesterday.

Ai Teti, 37, who is from Indonesia, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of forgery and had another 33 charges taken into consideration - including one of theft of a commemorative gold proof coin.

A district court heard that Ai Teti had worked for her employer, 68-year-old Madam Yong Fong Peng, for 13 years.

Investigations showed that some time in May last year, she stole a United Overseas Bank cheque book from her employer's bedroom. She then began to issue cheques to herself.

She would insert her name into the payee column of the cheque, fill in the amount to be paid, and forge the signature of Madam Yong after referring to previous cheques she had signed.

She cashed the forged cheques and either spent the money on gambling or sent it back home.

Her offences came to light only after Madam Yong received her bank statement on Nov 24 last year and noticed the suspicious withdrawals. She lodged a police report the next day.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew Xizhi, who sought a sentence of 18 to 20 months' jail, said Ai Teti had abused the trust of her employer.

She said the offences were pre- meditated, there was a significant loss of more than $100,000, and no restitution had been made.

Pleading for leniency, Ai Teti promised not to commit any offences in future. Her sentence was backdated to Oct 7. She could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined for each count of forgery.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2016, with the headline 'Maid jailed over $108k cheque forgery'. Print Edition | Subscribe