Former club employee jailed for embezzling $278,000

After getting into trouble with the police, a former account and administrative assistant with Hougang United Football Club embezzled nearly $300,000 in cash from the club's safes.

She transferred the money to a man who had promised to help her resolve the police case.

Yesterday, Malaysian Tean Tai Tee, 25, was jailed for two years for criminal breach of trust.

Tean's work duties included keeping an account of the money inside two safes at Hougang Stadium - one in the office and the other in the clubhouse. She also issued cash floats for the jackpot machines. She had access to the keys for both safes, which contained the club's sales revenue and earnings.

On Oct 6 last year, Tean received a "friend" request over Facebook from a Lily Tan and accepted the request.

Subsequently, the person asked Tean if she was interested in a part-time job which involved the use of Tean's bank account for transactions on the person's behalf. She would earn a 5 per cent commission from each transaction.

Tean agreed and gave her bank account details to both Lily Tan and the latter's colleague, known only as Steven in court documents.

Nearly a week later, she began receiving money in her bank accounts, and each time, she would transfer it to Steven as soon as possible.

 

The following month, her bank accounts were frozen, and when she contacted the police, they told her that the transactions involving Lily Tan and Steven were being investigated.

When she informed Steven about it, he told her to give a false account to the police that she had taken loans from an unlicensed moneylender, and had allowed the moneylender to use her bank accounts to make transactions in lieu of loan repayments.

Tean did so, and on Nov 26, was arrested.

While out on bail, she contacted Steven, who told her he could help her resolve the matter for a fee of $100,000. This was eventually lowered to $30,000.

Three days later, Tean took various amounts of money from the office safe when the accountant, Ms Yap Mei Jan, was not around.

She continued taking money in increasing amounts until December last year, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yanying.

That month, Tean also began taking money from the safe at the clubhouse.

Over almost a month, she took $145,200 from the office safe and $133,000 from the clubhouse safe. Each time, the cash was deposited into bank accounts provided by Steven.

Tean's offences were discovered by Ms Yap on Dec 15 last year after she noticed a shortfall of about $278,000 in the safes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2019, with the headline 'Former club employee jailed for embezzling $278,000'. Print Edition | Subscribe