Jail for ex-bank relationship manager who misappropriated over $260,000 from godsister

Timothy Tan Swee Thiam pleaded guilty to five counts of committing forgery for the purpose of cheating and three charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act on March 19, 2019.
Timothy Tan Swee Thiam pleaded guilty to five counts of committing forgery for the purpose of cheating and three charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act on March 19, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A former bank employee was sentenced on Friday (Oct 11) to 2-1/2 years’ jail for misappropriating more than $260,000 from a woman he regarded as his godsister.

Timothy Tan Swee Thiam, 34, worked as a relationship manager for United Overseas Bank (UOB) from January 2011 before resigning in October 2015.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of criminal breach of trust and three charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.

The victim, Ms Pang Tze Ling, 50, was a UOB customer and her bank accounts were her only sources of funds.

Tan got to know Ms Pang’s father in 2011 and assisted him with investments. Tan later became his godson.

After the man died in 2014, Tan helped Ms Pang to open two UOB bank accounts. One was a joint account with her brother Pang Tze Kaan.

Ms Pang then entrusted Tan with her security token which allowed the relationship manager to access her accounts online.

Ms Pang also received treatment from the Institute of Mental Health from December 2014 and Tan was aware of this. Court documents did not reveal details about her mental condition. 

 
 
 
 

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew had earlier said: “She entrusted the accused with the monies in the said accounts for the accused to manage her investments in transactions that were authorised by her, make bill payments for her family and make monthly fund transfers to Tze Kaan for his living expenses. 

“The accused was not authorised to make any other transaction with the victim’s bank accounts... for any other purpose.”

But between March 2, 2015 and Jan 22, 2016, Tan made 11 unauthorised fund transfers from one of the accounts totalling more than $260,000.

Court documents did not state how Tan’s offences came to light but Ms Pang made a police report in February 2016.

More than $23,000 was later seized from Tan’s bank account. In addition, he has made $157,500 in restitution.

UOB had said in an earlier statement that it does not tolerate any of its employees breaching its Code of Conduct.

For criminal breach of trust, Tan could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.