SINGAPORE - A senior personal banker was supposed to help her clients grow their savings but ended up cheating them of more than $200,000 in total.
Ng Wei Ling, who was working at United Overseas Bank (UOB), used the money to pay for items including her transportation and dining expenses.
On Monday (April 1), District Judge Toh Yung Cheong said that Ng's offences had the potential to affect public trust in Singapore's financial sector, and sentenced her to one year and eight months' jail
Ng, 26, pleaded guilty to five cheating charges involving $150,000. Another eight charges, mainly for similar offences and linked to the remaining amount, were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Ng joined UOB in April 2014 and was suspended in September 2017. At UOB, she was tasked to provide advisory services on investment products such as unit trusts and insurance policies.
On Feb 18, 2016, she asked a client, Ms Herawati Wongso Ong, to hand over $50,000 in cash to buy a Prudential Pru-Save Max policy for her daughter.
Ms Ong did as she was told, but it turned out that Ng had intended to use the money for her personal expenses.
Ng targeted a second client, Ms Paula Permatasari, in early 2017, asking her to take part in a bank promotion relating to a three-month fixed deposit that would yield an annual interest rate of 8.8 per cent.
Ms Permatasari agreed and transferred $40,000 to Ng's bank account in February that year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Deborah Lee told Judge Toh that Ng made off with the money and did not use it for her client's fixed deposit.
By using a similar method, Ng duped another client, Ms Baba Hideko, into transferring $60,000 to her bank account in May 2017.
Ng's offences came to light on Sept 28 that year when the Commercial Affairs Department received information that she had fraudulently transferred a total of $50,000 from Ms Permatasari's bank accounts to her own, according to court documents. Ng has since made restitution totalling $135,000.
On Monday, the DPP urged the court to sentence Ng to 19 months' jail, stressing that she had abused her position as a senior personal banker.
Defence lawyer T. M. Sinnadurai, who pleaded for a 17-month jail term, said that this was his client's first brush with the law. He also said that Ng was her family's sole breadwinner.
Ng is now out on bail of $60,000 and was ordered to surrender herself at the State Courts on April 15 to begin serving her sentence.
For each count of cheating, she could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.