SINGAPORE - A former general manager in the food and beverage industry was jailed for 31 months on Thursday (Oct 13) for misappropriating more than $200,000 entrusted to him.
William Ang Kok Hai, 43, pleaded guilty to committing criminal breach of trust of $286,232 between Oct 10 and Nov 25, 2014 when he was general manager of Suntec F&B Holdings. One of its businesses was to manage a food court at One Raffles Place.
Sometime in September 2014, a director of the company was informed of irregularities in the banking-in dates of the food court's daily cash takings.
Ang confessed to taking the money and claimed he was paying off his brother's loan shark debts.
The company, being sympathetic to his plight, agreed to let him pay back the money in instalments.
When the company later found out that he had lied, a police report was lodged on Nov 24, 2015.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Eden Li said Ang was in charge of managing the operations of the food court, and tasked with collecting the daily sales money. He was supposed to bank in the money and pass the bank-in slips to the company.
Instead, he pocketed the daily sales totalling $286,232. He claimed that he used them to pay off his personal debts.
He has repaid $67,429 to the company.
DPP Li said Ang had misappropriated a substantial sum of money, and this was by no means a one-off folly. Over a period of two months, he misappropriated money on 47 occasions. This suggested that he had a degree of planning and pre-meditation to avoid detection over this period of time.
He was in a position of trust and authority, and was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the food court with 20 staff under him.
"The court must send a strong deterrent message that employees of the company will not be treated lightly if they misappropriate funds," she added.
Ang's lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said his client, who is divorced with a 10-year-old daughter, had worked for Suntec Food & Leisure for about 13 years before leaving. He returned three years later as a general manager and held that position for six years.
He said Ang, now a taxi driver, had borrowed from a licensed moneylender to pay his credit card debts. The loan snowballed and he sought to resolve this by using the former company cash collection to pay the debts, he said.
He said Ang is remorseful, regrets his wrongdoing and extends his sincere apology to the company.
The maximum penalty for the offence is 15 years' jail.