Lawyer jailed five years for siphoning $650k from a client

A lawyer was jailed for five years on Tuesday for siphoning $650,000 belonging to a client. Fun Huay Yew, 43, had admitted to criminal breach of trust of the amount entrusted to him by his former client, Toshiba Machine S.E. Asia.

A district court heard that he was engaged by Toshiba to sue Reliance Plastic in Malaysia for non-payment of machines ordered in 1999. Following an injunction granted, Toshiba seized the machines and sold them for $650,000.

Reliance counter-sued for wrongful action in the Malaysian High Court. The $650,000 was then held by Fun as a stakeholder pending the outcome of the civil suit. On Sept 18, 2001, a cheque for $650,000 was deposited into the client account. The next day, Fun withdrew the money and placed it in a fixed deposit account.

One day before the fixed deposit was due to mature, Fun instructed the bank to return the $650,000 to the client account. He withdrew the amount and deposited in the firm's office account.

Over a period of six months, the office account was emptied across 20 transactions. He fled Singapore in March 2003, and was arrested in Malaysia almost a decade later. Fun, whose sentence was backdated to Nov 30, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments