Senior executive who set up fake company to siphon money from UEL pleads guilty to offences involving $10m

Linda Lee pleaded guilty to cheating offences involving more than $10 million dollars, on Aug 31, 2017. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A former senior executive of a facilities management company pleaded guilty in court on Thursday (Aug 31) to cheating offences involving more than $10 million.

Linda Lee, 39, who used to be the asset management vice president for UE ServiceCorp Singapore - a subsidiary of United Engineers Limited (UEL) - admitted to 28 cheating charges and seven counts of converting the proceeds of her criminal activities by buying big-ticket items including multiple properties, luxury goods and a car.

Some 325 other charges for similar offences will be taken into consideration during sentencing. She was terminated from her job in June 2015.

Lee committed the offences between 2010 and 2015 and according to court documents, allegedly worked with four accomplices.Their cases are still pending.

Sometime in 2011, Lee had set up LT Engineering Consultancy under the name of her unsuspecting father, Mr Lee Foo Wah.

She explained to him that the firm would be doing general works when in fact, her sole purpose for creating it was to siphon money from UEL.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jasmin Kaur said: "The accused would submit fictitious job requests and quotations and ensure that the jobs were awarded to LT .

"When payment was made, the accused would enlist the help of Mr Lee to withdraw the money from LT's account and she would keep the money for herself."

Lee caused UEL to make payments to LT Engineering 25 times and the total amount paid was almost $2 million.

She also used false quotations to get UEL to pay her own home renovations. Lee, who had engaged the firm Pure Concept to work on her flat, created fictitious jobs in UEL's system, stating that work needed to be done at UE Square.

DPP Kaur said: "She then submitted a false quotation for Pure Concept and two other false support quotations, ensuring that the job would be awarded to Pure Concept. UEL would then issue payment to Pure Concept by way of cheque, which she would collect and hand to Pure Concept as payment for the renovations at her home."

Lee had also caused UEL to make payment to Pure Concept on a total of 63 occasions, and the total amount it gave the renovations company was $220,000.

She also created fictitious jobs and submitted false quotations which were rigged for the jobs to be awarded to Ying Xin Services.

After payment was made to Ying Xin Services, Tan Aik Gee, a manager with the firm and one of Lee's alleged accomplices, would keep half for himself and give the remainder to her.

Lee also used a similar method method for jobs to be awarded to companies set up by another accomplice.

DPP Kaur said that extensive fund -tracing by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) revealed that Lee converted almost $3 million of the proceeds of her criminal activities on several items.

For instance, she paid more than $500,000 for one of her properties at Spazio@Kovan condominium and another $336,000 for two others at Pulau Manis in Batam, Indonesia.

The court heard, by way of seizure and recovery efforts by CPIB, that more than $910,000 have been recovered by UEL. Apart from these, Lee has not made any restitution.

She is now out on a bail of $100,000 and will be back in court on Sept 8.

Offenders convicted of cheating can be jailed up to 10 years and fined for each charge.

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