Serial cheat gets 22 months' jail for crimes involving nearly $100K

SINGAPORE - A 35-year-old man who repeatedly committed offences such as cheating while working for three different companies over a six-year period was finally jailed on Wednesday (Dec 13).

Cai Yong, 35, was given 22 months' jail for his crimes involving $99,245.34 in all.

The Singaporean had pleaded guilty to three cheating charges and two counts of criminal breach of trust on Tuesday. Sixteen other charges for similar offences involving $16,642.26 were considered during sentencing.

In the latest case, the court heard that Cai had pocketed money while working as an accountant for telecommunication equipment firm Singapore Oppo Electronics.

On Sept 26 last year, while entrusted with depositing cash from the company safe into its bank account, Cai helped himself to $33,386.69 in cash from the safe. He took the monies home and did not report for work the next day.

When the firm's finance manager discovered the cash was missing, she told its managing director and they waited for Cai to turn up.

Deputy Public Prosecutor V. Jesudevan said: "However, the accused did not turn up and he remained uncontactable. He instead sent text messages to his other colleagues, lying that he had been a victim of snatch theft."

Oppo later learnt that Cai had taken an additional $35,000 from the safe between Sept 22 and 26 last year. The police were notified and officers who went to his home on Sept 28 recovered $52,017.65 in cash from his bedroom.

In December 2011, while working as an accountant assistant at electronics company E-T-A Asia Pacific, Cai committed cheating by making multiple unauthorised travel bookings under the firm's account.

As a result, a travel agency was duped into issuing vouchers and sending the invoices to E-T-A. A police report was made in June 2012. The three cheating charges he pleaded guilty to involved $12,980.80 in all.

Cai later claimed he had made the travel bookings for his friends.

In 2013, while working as a senior account executive at recycling company Resourceco Asia, Cai pocketed money meant for an intern.

The court heard that he was entrusted with a company cash cheque for $2,200 which was supposed to be given to an intern.

Instead, he encashed the cheque, pocketed $700 and handed the intern the remainder. He also took $535.59 in cash from the firm's petty cash.

Cai's lawyer, Mr Choo Si Sen, had asked District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan to sentence his client to 18 months' jail.

Mr Choo said his client had been diagnosed with anti-social personality traits and previously suffered from a major depressive disorder which is now in remission.

For each count of cheating, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.