Ex-legal secretary jailed for CBT of $214K and using fake stamp certs

A former conveyancing secretary was jailed for 30 months and six weeks on Wednesday for misappropriating more than $200,000, and using counterfeit stamp certificates.

Juliana Abu Bakar, 39, was working for Atkins Law Corporation when she committed criminal breach of cash, cashier's orders and cheques amounting to $214,312 between January and October 2012.

She pleaded guilty.

She was also convicted of three charges of using counterfeit stamp certificates for three property transactions in 2012.

A district court heard that the offence came to light in November 2012, when one of the secretaries at Atkins realised that one of its clients had not paid stamp duty for the property bought.

When she called the buyers, they told her that they had paid in cash, and forwarded a receipt as evidence of payment.

It was found that the cash paid by the buyers had not been handed over to the law firm's accounts department.

The receipt given was also not an official one.

Further investigation showed that between January and October 2012, when clients paid stamp duty by cheque, Juliana would ask them to fill up the cheque but told them to leave the payee column blank.

She would make photocopies of the cheque and stamp the Atkins' company chop on the payee column on the photocopied copy. She would then fill in her own name in the payee column and deposit the cheque into her personal bank account

To hide her misdeeds, she would make use of stamp duty payments made by other clients to cover up for the sums taken.

She used the misappropriated money to pay for gambling losses, and has paid back $10,000 to one of the directors of Atkins.

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

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