He was meant to be putting the money towards training courses and examinations. Instead, Yang Fook Tee pocketed a total of $1,830 from two aspiring property agents and a colleague. On Tuesday, the 52-year-old - who also misappropriated $345 that was meant to pay for jerseys for his company's football club - was fined $10,000.
A district court heard he pocketed the funds while working as a senior team associate director at property agency OrangeTee.
In March 2010, he was introduced to refinery technician Max Li Yan Cheng, who was interested in becoming a part-time agent. Yang collected $830 from him to cover the joining fee, insurance, the fees for the Common Examination of Salespersons, and expenses for items such as uniforms and printed name cards.
But when Mr Li, 26, called five months later to inquire about his application, he was told Yang was no longer coming to work. The senior agent was sacked later that month. Mr Li then found out he had not been registered for any training or exams.
Yang also pocketed $200 given to him by 37-year-old Bobby Cheng Tian Ring Kuaan, who worked for OrangeTee part-time, and $800 from aspiring agent Franster Wong Chow Ann, 26.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of criminal breach of trust.
On Tuesday, Yang, who is now a security guard, said a prison sentence would cost him his job. He has returned all the money.
The court allowed him to pay the fine in instalments. He gave $2,000 today and will pay $1,000 a month from now on.
Yang could have been sentenced to seven years in jail and a $10,000 fine.