SINGAPORE - A lawyer who left Singapore after more than $33 million parked at his firm went missing faced 15 additional charges on Tuesday (June 30), including 14 counts of cheating.
Jeffrey Ong Su Aun, 42, now faces 53 charges in total. He was earlier handed 38 charges for offences that include criminal breach of trust as an attorney and forgery.
The monies totalling more than $33 million had been held in escrow by law firm JLC Advisors for a client, Allied Technologies. Escrow is an essential service in capital markets that supports transactions such as mergers and acquisitions.
Ong, who used to work at the law firm, is accused of cheating Allied Technologies 14 times between 2017 and last year.
On or around Nov 3, 2017, the Singaporean allegedly duped Allied Technologies into believing that its escrow account maintained by JLC Advisors contained a balance of more than $33 million when it did not.
He is also accused of furnishing an escrow notice to Allied Technologies reflecting the amount.
As a result, he is said to have intentionally induced Allied Technologies to omit investigating the missing monies. Court documents did not reveal the actual amount left in the account.
Ong allegedly committed similar offences against Allied Technologies from then until Jan 22 last year.
Separately, one of his latest charges involved an allegation that he committed criminal breach of trust as an attorney on Dec 17, 2018.
Ong, who appeared in court via video-link, is accused of misappropriating $250,000 from a bank account that day.
His particulars could also no longer be found on the Ministry of Law's website following a search for lawyers on Tuesday.
Ong first made the headlines last year after more than $33 million held in escrow for Allied Technologies went missing. He also disappeared soon after.
It later emerged that Ong had left Singapore for Malaysia in a private-hire car on May 13 last year after making arrangements with a friend known only as Nicholas.
Ong moved to a hotel in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, and became uncontactable three days later after he got rid of his mobile phone.
He stayed at the hotel until officers from the Royal Malaysia Police arrested him later that month. He was brought back to Singapore on May 30 last year.
On Tuesday, the court heard that lawyer Jennifer Sia is no longer representing him.
He is now represented by lawyers Tan Hee Joek and Kate Loo.
Ong was not offered bail and he will be back in court on Aug 11.
If convicted of criminal breach of trust as an attorney, he can either be jailed for life or jailed for up to 20 years and fined.
For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined.