Woman jailed 30 months for misappropriating $1.2million from company over 10 years

SINGAPORE - A former accounts clerk who submitted fake petty cash claims and pocketed $1.2 million from her company funds over 10 years was sentenced to 30 months' jail last Thursday.

Ho Fong Peng, 42, who faced 11 counts of criminal breach of trust as a servant, pleaded guilty to four charges.

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

The offences came to light when the company's chairman, Mr Ang Kong Meng, 63, instructed the business development manager to check the monthly carpark coupon reimbursements to its sales staff in April 2010.

The check revealed that Ho, who handled the reimbursements, had made fake carpark reimbursement claims.

Checks conducted on other petty cash reimbursement claims subsequently showed that she had also been taking money from the company's petty cash float, which she had been entrusted with.

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.

But Ho would put up fictitious petty cash claim vouchers and misappropriate corresponding amounts from the petty cash float. At times, she would also forge Mr Ang's signature in approving the fake claim vouchers.

She would also occasionally amend the figures on claim vouchers which had already been approved.

Further investigations also showed that Ho would help the company's sales receptionist collect sales proceeds from salespersons whenever the latter was not around.

But instead of handing the cash over to the sales manager to deposit into the company's account, Ho would pocket the money.

Ho admitted to misappropriating company funds when confronted by the company and she was sacked on May 18, 2010.

She has returned $1,368.

In mitigation, Ho's lawyer, Ms Andrea Gan, asked the court to exercise judicial mercy on Ho, who gave half of the amount taken to her ex-boyfriend. Ho, who is HIV positive, also helped her younger brother settle some $100,000 in loanshark debts.

For committing criminal breach of trust as a servant, she could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined on each charge.