Former NTUC Income financial associate jailed 4 years for misappropriating nearly $500k

SINGAPORE - While working as a financial associate with NTUC Income Insurance Cooperative, John Koh Zhan Loong was responsible for collecting payments of insurance premiums from its clients and handing over the monies to the firm.

But he abused their trust and misappropriated almost $500,000 from 11 clients between Dec 11, 2012, and Dec 4, 2013.

Koh, 39, was jailed for four years on Wednesday (June 27) after pleading guilty to one count of criminal breach of trust.

A second charge for a similar offence was considered during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Lim told District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim that Koh worked as a financial associate with NTUC Income between June 1, 2009, and Dec 9, 2013, and in that time, he misappropriated between $3,289.55 and $150,000 from each victim.

An NTUC Income compliance manager later found out about the offences and alerted the police on Dec 12, 2013.

Court documents did not reveal details on how the crime came to light.

DPP Lim said that according to Koh, the money was used on his gambling expenses and to make payments for his wife's insurance policy.

He has made no restitution, the court heard.

Koh's lawyer, Mr T.M. Sinnadurai, told Judge Hamidah that his client is "truly remorseful".

Pleading for a lenient sentence, the lawyer said: "The accused admits that his actions were due to a lapse in judgment. This is a scar that will remain with him for the rest of his life."

For committing criminal breach of trust, Koh could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined.