Finance manager stole $470k from employer

Indian national Smita Salil Mhatre, 36, had misappropriated about $470,000 from her employer over a period of six years.
Indian national Smita Salil Mhatre, 36, had misappropriated about $470,000 from her employer over a period of six years.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

A former finance manager who misappropriated about $470,000 from her employer over a periodof six years was jailed for 46 months yesterday.

Indian national Smita Salil Mhatre, 36, who is a Singapore permanent resident, faced six charges involving $470,193, misappropriated between 2008 and 2013.

She had admitted to three counts of criminal breach of trust as a servant by pocketing funds totalling $244,991 belonging to Research Pacific Group, and had the remaining three charges considered in sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Vincent Ong said she had joined the company in 2006 as an accounts and administrative executive, and worked her way up to become the finance manager.

She managed the company's bank accounts and fund transfers, and held onto the security dongles for the company's HSBC Bank accounts, which enabled her to view the accounts and authorise and approve payments from her computer.

Around 2012, the company decided to leave cheques that had been pre-signed in her care as the company's director needed to travel overseas for work.

She misappropriated money from the company's funds by transferring various amounts from its HSBC accounts to her personal bank account with POSB Bank. She would do so using cheques and fund transfers.

The sums she misappropriated between 2011 and May 2013 were $97,802, $98,689 and $48,500.

DPP Ong said that while she had made restitution of $277,254, a significant portion of the misappropriated sum remained unaccounted for.

He also said she had abused the trust placed in her. Her use of multiple modes to misappropriate the company's funds showed a high level of sophistication, which made it harder to detect her misdeeds.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline 'Finance manager stole $470k from employer'. Print Edition | Subscribe