Ex-department store cashier jailed 33 months for criminal breach of trust of $184k

Former Takashimaya employee Yeoh Kim Hong was jailed for 33 months on Thursday (April 6) for misappropriating more than $180,000 over five years. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A long-standing employee of Takashimaya who misappropriated more than $180,000 over five years was jailed for 33 months on Thursday (April 6).

Malaysian Yeoh Kim Hong, 46, who is a Singapore permanent resident, was working as a cashier at the department store on Orchard Road when she committed criminal breach of trust totalling $184,213 between 2012 and 2016.

She pleaded guilty to three of five charges of CBT as a servant.

A district court heard that Yeoh had been working for Takashimaya since 1996 as a cashier.

Last November, the accounts department of the store discovered some discrepancies in two refund transactions she made.

When confronted, she admitted that the two refund transactions were bogus and that she had misappropriated the money.

She admitted to the security department that she had been siphoning money for quite some time, but claimed it was only for about six months.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Vadivalagan Shanmuga said subsequently, the store's accounts department conducted further checks and found out that Yeoh's fraudulent transactions went way back to 2012.

She would make false refund claims and pocket the money linked to these false claims.

For example, when a customer buys an item, she would generate a sales receipt at the point-of-sales machine. She would take note of the amount paid in cash by the customer.

Subsequently, she would create a false "Goods Return Slip" (GRS) with details of a fictitious customer, and indicate in the GRS the same amount that was paid in cash earlier by the genuine customer.

After that, she would open the point-of-sales machine when no one was looking, and misappropriate the money.

When she finally submitted the GRS to the accounts department, the daily transactions tallied with no shortfalls, hence raising no suspicion.

To avoid raising any alarm, she made sure the item indicated in the false GRS was not an item promoted by sales promoters, who would do their own stock check at the end of every business day.

The court heard the retail manager had to sign on the refund transactions but since Yeoh had worked in the store for many years, the retail manager trusted her and gave Yeoh the necessary authorisation over the phone.

Yeoh abused her trust by forging the retail manager's signature on the false GRS and submitted them directly to the accounts department.

She could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined on each charge.

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