Ex-bank officer cheated 2 retirees of over $200k

A former bank relationship manager was sentenced yesterday to three years and 10 months' jail after making off with more than $200,000 from two retirees.

Liaw Tick Kwan, 37, made unauthorised transfers, lied about investments and used their money for himself, including buying real estate in Cambodia under his wife's name.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of cheating last month. He also admitted to one count each of an offence under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act and of dealing with the benefits of his criminal activities.

The court heard that Liaw was working for DBS Bank between November 2011 and May 2014 when he got to know the two Singaporean victims.

In August 2013, Liaw helped Mr Chin Tian Loke, 73, to open a DBS account to invest in foreign currencies and applied for Internet banking facilities on his behalf. Mr Chin entrusted his online banking security token and personal identification number with Liaw for the younger man to manage his investment-related transactions.

The following month, Liaw used the token to access the retiree's account - without his authorisation - and transferred US$83,000 to Mean Chey International Investment in Cambodia.

In May and October 2014, he transferred US$19,000 from Mr Chin's account to that of his other victim, 67-year-old Ms Chou Ching Ping.

 
 
 

Liaw went on to work for Standard Chartered Bank Singapore (SCB) from June 2014 to May 2015. He continued to act as Mr Chin's relationship manager and asked him to transfer all his money to SCB, which the victim did.

On Oct 29, 2014, Liaw duped Ms Chou into believing she had received over $67,000 in her DBS account that was "related to one of his client's investments", the court heard. Ms Chou withdrew the amount and gave it to him.

On March 9, 2015, Liaw duped Mr Chin into signing a cheque for more than $24,000. Liaw encashed it and spent the money.

In May that year, Mr Chin became suspicious, checked with SCB and found out he had been cheated. He then lodged a police report.

Deputy Public Prosecution Norman Yew said Liaw had made partial restitution. Between July and September 2015, he paid more than $24,000 to SCB, and last April, he handed over US$10,300 to Mr Chin.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2019, with the headline 'Ex-bank officer cheated 2 retirees of over $200k'. Print Edition | Subscribe