Woman deceived polyclinic doctors into delivering cough medication to her

Eileen Siak, 33, posed as different people to trick several doctors into delivering about $500 worth of cough medication to her. She pleaded guilty to seven counts of cheating on Thursday (Nov 17).
Eileen Siak, 33, posed as different people to trick several doctors into delivering about $500 worth of cough medication to her. She pleaded guilty to seven counts of cheating on Thursday (Nov 17).PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A woman who has codeine dependency posed as different people to trick several doctors in Jurong and Bukit Batok polyclinics into delivering about $500 worth of cough medication to her, a court heard.

Eileen Siak, 33, who faced 21 charges of cheating, pleaded guilty to seven counts on Thursday (Nov 17). She was unemployed at the time.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Vadivalagan Shanmuga said that when Siak was working in Health and Lifestyle as an accounts manager, she saved in her private email folder a list of the company's customers' personal particulars when she should have saved it in the company's e-mail account.

In 2014, she visited clinics almost on a daily basis to get her supply of cough syrup.

Fearing that the clinics might stop providing her the medication, she decided to use the personal particulars of other individuals from the list she had saved previously.

She would register for an appointment with a polyclinic via her mobile phone, using some of those customer's personal details, then, show up at the respective polyclinic and assume the identity of the person under whose name she had registered.

She would then see the attending doctors and get the cough medication even though she was not having any cough.

Initially she paid for her medication. Subsequently, she would collect the medication from the dispensing counter of the clinics and walk off without paying for them. She made off with $524 worth of medication in this manner.

A senior manager at National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, who manages nine polyclinics in Singapore, lodged a police report on March 16, 2015.

Siak's lawyer Josephus Tan said his client, a chemical engineering graduate, has been suffering from codeine dependency since June 2013. He said that she was also suffering from post-natal depression and had been seeing a doctor at the Institute of Mental Health to manage her dependency.

In recent months, she had been visiting private family clinics every other day to get her codeine-based medication, he said.

He added that what his client needs is "timely and targeted medical intervention/assistance'' so that she can lead a life and rehabilitate.

District Judge Shawn Ho called for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO) suitability report and will sentence her on Jan 13.

Under MTO, offenders must attend compulsory treatment sessions with psychiatrists assigned by the Health Ministry and Institute of Mental Health.

The maximum punishment for cheating is three years' jail and a fine.