SINGAPORE - An Indonesian domestic worker who forged her employer's signature on 42 cheques totalling $108,315 was jailed for 21 months on Monday (Oct 31).
Ai Teti, 37, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of forgery. Another 33 charges, including theft of a commemorative gold proof coin, were taken into consideration during sentencing.
A district court heard that Ai Teti had worked for her employer, Madam Yong Fong Peng, 68, for 13 years.
Investigations showed that sometime in May 2015, she stole a United Overseas Bank cheque book from her employer's bedroom. She then began to issue cheques to herself.
She would insert her name into the payee column of the cheque, fill in the amount to be paid, and forge a signature purportedly belonging to Madam Yong, one of the authorised signatories. The other was her husband.
She had referred to previous receipts and cheques that Madam Yong had signed to more accurately copy the latter's signature on the forged cheques.
She encashed the forged cheques. No restitution has been made.
She spent the money on gambling and has also remitted some back to Indonesia.
Her offences came to light only after Madam Yong received her UOB statement on Nov 24 the same year. She noticed that there had been suspicious withdrawals over the past few months and lodged a police report the next day.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew Xizhi, who sought a sentence of 18 to 20 months' jail, said Ai Teti had abused the trust of her employer. She said the offences were pre-meditated; there was a significant loss of more than $100,000; and the accused should not be categorised as a first-time offender.
Pleading for leniency, Ai Teti promised not to commit any offence in future, and said she wished to go home as soon as possible.
Her sentence was backdated to Oct 7.
She could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined for each count of forgery.