Nike manager colluded with design firm to cheat company

A Nike manager arranged with the owner of a design and installation services firm called D3 - which was doing work for Nike - to inflate her claims from the sports goods maker.

This was to cover unauthorised personal expenses incurred by her and two colleagues at Nike.

Between 2012 and 2014, Joanne Cheong Sook Yin submitted 154 inflated invoices from D3 to Nike, which then paid out $77,546 more than it should have.

She has made full restitution.

Yesterday, the 36-year-old was jailed for five months after admitting to 22 charges of using inflated D3 invoices to deceive Nike. Another 132 charges were considered.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew said that since 2011, Nike had been engaging D3 to attach three external temporary workers to Nike to work on its projects.

D3 could make reimbursement claims from Nike for expenses incurred by the three workers in the course of their work at Nike, as well as for their salaries.

D3 would submit the claims and invoices to Cheong, who would then submit them to the finance department.

Cheong was aware then that Nike's employees were not allowed to make claims through D3.

Some time in 2012, she decided to make illegitimate claims from Nike, for herself and two colleagues, through inflated D3 invoices.

These reimbursements would cover personal expenses that did not relate to work.

After collating receipts for the expenses incurred by herself and two colleagues, she gave them to D3's owner, Ms Anne Gan Chai Bee.

Ms Gan would inflate the firm's invoices by including the amounts in the receipts from Cheong and her two colleagues.

After Nike disbursed the funds to D3, money would be given Cheong and her colleagues.

The offences were uncovered after the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau received a tip-off from someone who heard from one of Cheong's two Nike colleagues that Cheong had a dubious arrangement with Ms Gan.

Cheong, represented by Mr S. Balamurugan, could have been fined up to $100,000 and jailed for up to five years for each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2016, with the headline 'Nike manager colluded with design firm to cheat company'. Print Edition | Subscribe