Secretary jailed 18 months for siphoning $51,000 from law firm

Wirda Ningseh Samsudin, 40, pocketed payments totalling $51,581.50 made by clients at the law firm she was working at. She was jailed for 18 months on Monday (Nov 28).
Wirda Ningseh Samsudin, 40, pocketed payments totalling $51,581.50 made by clients at the law firm she was working at. She was jailed for 18 months on Monday (Nov 28). PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Just one month after Wirda Ningseh Samsudin was hired as a secretary at Island Law, she started pocketing payments made by the firm's clients.

The 40-year-old, who was entrusted to collect the payments, stole $51,581.50 over one year.

On Monday (Nov 28), Wirda was jailed for 18 months after she pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust as a servant.

A district court heard that Wirda started working for Island Law on May 4 last year.

She was assigned to take charge of clients' accident claims portfolios.

An insurance company would typically make a pay-out to a client, after a successful claim or settlement.

The client would then hand over a portion of the money as payment of legal fees, either in person at Island Law's office at People's Park Centre, or via a dispatch by the firm.

However, Wirda would either collect payments from clients herself, or ask clients to transfer their payments to a bank account belonging to her mother, her husband or herself.

If payments were made into her mother's or husband's accounts, Wirda would ask them to pass her the money.

Between June 19, 2015 and May 16, 2016, Wirda pocketed $51,581.50 from 20 of Island Law's clients.

The firm's accounts manager uncovered Wirda's misdeeds and made a police report on May 21.

She has since paid her employer back $2,000.

The maximum punishment for criminal breach of trust as a servant is up to 15 years' jail and a fine.