Four years' jail for woman who cheated employer of nearly $800k

Tan Nyuk Hong cheated her employer of nearly $800,000 by submitting more than 700 false travel claims. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A woman cheated her employer of nearly $800,000 from 2014 to last year by submitting more than 700 false travel claims.

A district court heard that Tan Nyuk Hong used the money on soccer betting, personal expenses and paying her debtors. She had made no restitution.

Tan, 45, who has since been asked to go by software company Autodesk Asia, was sentenced on Monday (Dec 23) to four years' jail, after pleading guilty to three counts of cheating involving more than $560,000.

Two other similar charges linked to the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.

The company employed her as a senior accounts payable analyst in 2011, a job that gave her access to its financial accounting software system.

Three years later, she found several claims were erroneously made under her name.

Tan started looking for such claims and found the "FB01" code had been used to process them. Court documents did not state what "FB01" meant.

As the system usually processed payments every Wednesday evening, she started submitting false claims for air fares, using the code.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Soh Weiqi said: "She would input the date of the document, the reference number of the air ticket, the name of the staff to be reimbursed and the amount of the reimbursement. She would then put her... bank account number as the account where the amount was to be paid to.

"The accused also ensured the amount of the reimbursement was less than US$1,000 (S$1,300) because she felt that anything below that amount would not be singled out for audit. The accused did this on an almost weekly basis."

Tan also inflated her own legitimate claims, added the DPP. Her offences went undetected and she was promoted to accounts payable manager in 2016. Two years later, she became its accounts payable global manager.

She continued cheating the company in 2018 but was caught after an internal audit found discrepancies in its finances. These included invoices where payments were made to her bank account.

The company contacted her on Sept 13 last year and she replied she would obtain the bank documents the following day to "prove" she had not received the funds.

She became uncontactable soon after and the company's director alerted the police on Sept 14 last year.

Tan has been offered bail of $40,000 and will surrender herself at the courts on Jan 6 next year to begin her jail term.

For each count of cheating, she could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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