Yacht club's accounts assistant stole $237,000 over five years

A former accounts assistant who misappropriated more than $200,000 over nearly five years from her employer was jailed for 30 months yesterday.

Cheang Wai Ling, 55, was working for SUTL Marina Development at One15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove when she committed the offences. She admitted to two charges involving a total of $146,610. Three other charges were considered in sentencing.

Among her duties was handling the yacht club's credit card sales and refunds to customers. She had access to the credit card terminal linked to SUTL Marina's bank account with DBS. Whenever refunds needed to be made to club members or customers, Cheang would use it to credit money directly into their accounts.

On 237 occasions from May 7, 2008 to June 5, 2012, she unlawfully transferred a total of $236,990 into either her five credit card accounts or her husband's three credit card accounts to offset outstanding bills accumulated from her spending on shoes, clothes, car instalment payments, mobile phone services and meals.

On June 6, 2012, the bank alerted SUTL Marina that $16,610 had been transferred to Cheang's credit card account. The company confronted her and demanded that she return the sum by June 8, which she did.

SUTL Marina then conducted internal investigations and discovered the other misappropria-tions. A police report was made on Feb 24 last year.

Seeking a jail sentence of 36 months, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo said Cheang's restitution was very small. He said the offences were perpetrated over almost five years and the amounts taken escalated over the years.

Her lawyer, Mr Joseph Ignatius, said Cheang had to work after Primary Six education due to family circumstances.

Her husband lost his job in 2008 and the couple resorted to using their credit cards to pay for expenses, including medical bills for her cancer-stricken mother and her father who has dementia.

She could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined on each charge of criminal breach of trust as a servant.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2015, with the headline 'Yacht club's accounts assistant stole $237,000 over five years'. Print Edition | Subscribe