Ex-DBS exec jailed for cheating clients

He took nearly $700k from 11 victims who are either elderly or non-S'pore residents

A former DBS branch relationship manager who cheated 11 victims of almost $700,000 over two years was jailed for 56 months yesterday.

Eng Sze Keat, 32, had admitted to 27 counts of cheating, criminal breach of trust, forgery, transferring property which represented benefits from criminal conduct, and theft. Another 73 charges were taken into consideration.

When part of the sales team at the Royal Brothers Building branch of DBS, his duties included selling unit trusts, insurance policies and foreign exchange products to DBS customers.

He also helped customers to deposit or withdraw cash, and handled office administrative work.

Investigations showed that most of his customers who eventually became his victims were either elderly or non-Singapore residents.

After his customers agreed to buy a product and filled in their personal details on the necessary application forms, he assured them that he would fill in their remaining details later.

He would either slip in a fund transfer request form, a fixed deposit transaction form or an MAS Electronic Payment System application form for the customers to sign, or forge their signatures.

He would then fill in the forms with instructions to transfer the money to his friends' or family's bank accounts, including those of his ex-girlfriend and his mother.

Once the money was transferred, he would either ask them to transfer those funds into his bank account or withdraw the money in cash and pass it to him.

His offences involved a total of $717,226, including cheating DBS customers of $689,173.

His ex-girlfriend reported him to the police in 2011, alleging that he had used her details to apply for credit cards without her authorisation. He has since made full restitution of $28,000 to her for credit card fraud offences.

Four months later, the Commercial Affairs Department received a report from DBS, alleging that Eng had made unauthorised withdrawals from his clients' accounts.

On Aug 12 that year, Eng left for China with a performing artiste from China. He turned himself in four years later when he returned to Singapore last June.

District Judge Lee Poh Choo said Eng, represented by Mr Josephus Tan, exploited his position and had brought disrepute to DBS, a recognised Singapore brand. She noted that the the amount taken was substantial, and Eng had targeted and cheated vulnerable victims.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2016, with the headline Ex-DBS exec jailed for cheating clients. Subscribe