SINGAPORE - A car sales representative was sentenced to four years and eight months' jail on Monday (May 29) for misappropriating cash and cheques of more than $550,000 from the company he worked for and a customer.
Daniel Lewis Lim, now 39, converted $520,000 of the benefits from his criminal conduct into cash chips at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino and kept another $40,000 in cash in a safe at his Jalan Batu home near Mountbatten Road.
Lim pleaded guilty last month to two counts each of criminal breach of trust and converting the benefits of his criminal activities. He also admitted to one count of being in possession of the $40,000 which was a portion of the ill-gotten gains.
Ten other counts of converting the benefits were taken into consideration during sentencing.
In June 2015, Mr Liow Ming Yew, 34, contacted Lim and asked him to source for a Ferrari model 458 as he wanted to buy one.
Lim, who worked for Wheeler Dealers SG Pte Ltd, then brokered a deal with a man who represented a seller of such a car.
After the trio viewed the vehicle together on July 7 that year, Mr Liow decided to buy it for $565,000 and gave Lim a cheque for $65,000 for an initial deposit. Mr Liow also signed a sales agreement which Lim had prepared.
A few days later, Mr Liow handed over another cheque for $527,000 to Lim at Exquisite Marques, a workshop where the Ferrari had been sent to for servicing and repairs.
This amount was for the balance payment and for miscellaneous expenses such as insurance, road tax and repairs.
About a week later, Mr Liow contacted Lim as he noticed the vehicle ownership had not been transferred. Lim assured him that it would be done.
But when Mr Liow went to Exquisite Marques about a month later, he found out that the transfer had not taken place.
As advised by his lawyer, Mr Liow sent a letter of demand to Wheeler Dealers SG Pte Ltd on Aug 11, 2015. He then learned from Lim that the sale had been performed in his personal capacity - not as a Wheeler Dealers SG Pte Ltd sales representative.
Mr Liow then decided to lodge a police report.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Grace Goh said: "Of the $592,000 paid over by (Mr Liow) to the accused for the purpose of purchasing the car, only S$143,934.46 were applied towards the purchase of (it). The accused admitted that he had misappropriated the remaining S$448,065.54 for the following purposes including paying off his debts and HDB housing loan, personal expenses, as well as to fund his gambling habit."
The court also heard that Lim had failed to hand over $103,914.50 in cash to Wheeler Dealers SG Pte Ltd after closing deals for the firm between June 2014 and May 2015.
After police arrested Lim, officers recovered $284,000 in cash from him. .
Lim had gone to the MBS casino and converted $520,000 of his criminal proceeds into casino chips between July 16 and 31, 2015.
And between July 7 and Aug 13 that year, he had another $40,000 cash of his ill-gotten gains in his home.
According to court documents, the total sum misappropriated was $551,980.04.
Lim has since made a restitution of $60,000 to the company director.
He is now out on a bail of $150,000 and will surrender himself to court on July 3.
For misappropriating Mr Liow's money, he could have been jailed up to 20 years and fined.
And for misappropriating his then-employer's money, he could have been jailed up to 15 years and fined.
Correction Note: An earlier version of this story referred to the company the accused worked with as Wheeler Dealers. This has been corrected to Wheeler Dealers SG Pte Ltd.