Woman admits siphoning $1.2m from employer

SINGAPORE - An accounts clerk of a company submitted fake petty cash claims and misappropriated a total of $1.2 million over 10 years, a district court heard on Friday.

Ho Fong Peng, 42, who faced 11 counts of criminal breach of trust as a servant, pleaded guilty to four charges involving a total of $778,063 between 2005 and 2008.

She was employed by Way Company, which imports and exports hair care and beauty products, at the time.

The court heard that in April 2010, the company's chairman, Mr Ang Kong Meng, 63, had instructed the business development manager to check the monthly carpark reimbursements to its sales staff which were handled by Ho.

The check revealed that Ho had made fake carpark reimbursement claims.

Further checks showed that she had also been taking money from the company's petty cash float.

Ho would be issued cheques of about $3,000 about three to five times a month for meeting petty cash claims. She would cash in these cheques, which were meant for legitimate claims and other staff expenses.

However, she would put up fictitious petty cash claim vouchers and misappropriate corresponding amounts from the petty cash float she had been entrusted with. Sometimes, she would also forge Mr Ang's signature in approving the fake claim vouchers.

Occasionally, she would also amend the figures on claim vouchers which had already been approved.

Investigation further showed that she would help the receptionist collect sales proceeds from salespersons whenever the latter was not around.

Instead of handing the cash to the sales manager, Ho pocketed the money.

The company sacked her on May 18, 2010.

She has made restitution of $1,368.

Lawyer Andrea Gan asked the court to exercise judicial mercy on Ho, who gave half of the amount taken to her ex-boyfriend and also helped her brother settle loanshark debts.

District Judge Ng Peng Hong postponed sentencing to March 2.

Ho could be jailed for up to seven years and fined on each charge.