Lawyer Jeffrey Ong, linked to missing $33m, faces 4 more charges

Jeffrey Ong, who went on the run after over $33 million parked at his law firm went missing, now faces 26 charges in all.
Jeffrey Ong, who went on the run after over $33 million parked at his law firm went missing, now faces 26 charges in all.

A lawyer who vanished after more than $33 million parked at his firm went missing was yesterday slapped with four new charges, including one count of criminal breach of trust (CBT) as an attorney.

The CBT charge refers to Jeffrey Ong Su Aun's time at law firm JLC Advisors, where he allegedly misappropriated more than US$4.85 million (S$6.6 million) on Oct 23, 2017.

The three other new charges are for forgery for the purpose of cheating, which Ong allegedly committed on Aug 7 last year.

Ong, 42, who is now in remand, appeared in court yesterday via video link.

The court heard that he had allegedly forged bank statements for the months of April to June last year to dupe a lawyer from another firm, Mr Chan Yi Zhang, into believing that monies linked to the CBT charge were still present and unused.

The cash was linked to a settlement between two companies - Airtrust Singapore and Wrangwell. It was then held by JLC Advisors in escrow, which is an essential service in capital markets that support transactions such as mergers and acquisitions.

Ong now faces 26 charges in all, including cheating, but Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo told the court that the man may face more charges later.

Ong first made the headlines earlier this year after more than $33 million that was held in escrow by JLC Advisors for client Allied Technologies went missing.

He disappeared soon after.

 
 
 
 

Court documents do not state if the cases involving precision engineering firm Allied Technologies are related to the matters involving Airtrust Singapore and Wrangwell.

It emerged in court earlier that Ong had left Singapore for Malaysia in a private-hire car on May 13.

He then went to a hotel in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, and became uncontactable on May 16 after getting rid of his mobile phone.

He stayed at the hotel until officers from the Royal Malaysia Police arrested him on May 29. He was found to be in possession of a stolen Malaysian passport which he had obtained from a friend known only as Calvin. The passport had been issued to a 43-year-old man who bore some resemblance to Ong, as the passport photo showed.

Police believed that Ong had the knowledge and means to abscond.

He was brought back to Singapore on May 30 and charged with one count of cheating two days later. He faced more charges in court in the following months.

His case has been adjourned to Nov 25.

If convicted of criminal breach of trust as an attorney, he can either be jailed for life, or be jailed for up to 20 years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2019, with the headline 'Lawyer linked to missing $33m faces 4 more charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe