2 former co-op workers jailed for fraud and misappropriation involving $5.1 million

Arni Ahmad, 42, and Hanati Jani, 50, were jailed for defrauding the Singapore Statutory Boards' Employees' Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society Ltd (SSBC) of $5.1 million over five years.
Arni Ahmad, 42, and Hanati Jani, 50, were jailed for defrauding the Singapore Statutory Boards' Employees' Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society Ltd (SSBC) of $5.1 million over five years. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Two former employees of one of Singapore's oldest co-operatives were jailed on Tuesday (Aug 15) for defrauding the co-op of  $5.1 million over five years.

Arni Ahmad, 42, was an administrative manager while Hanati Jani, 50, was an administrative executive at the Singapore Statutory Boards' Employees' Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society (SSBC) when they committed the offences. Arni had 467 charges slapped on her and Hanati faced 275 charges. 

The offences took place between 2008 and 2013.

Arni was given 12 years' jail after pleading guilty to 20 charges, including cheating, conspiracy to cheat and criminal breach of trust as a servant.

The amount she cheated and misappropriated from the SSBC amounted to $4.3 million.

Hanati, who cheated and misappropriated almost $2 million from SSBC, was sentenced to a jail term of nine years and eight months. She, too, pleaded guilty to 20 charges.

SSBC members are employees of statutory boards and the government service, and are mainly employees of national water agency PUB, Singapore Power and the Housing Board.

Members contribute a compulsory minimum of $10 a month as a subscription fee, which will then be deposited in their subscription savings accounts at SSBC.

The savings cannot be withdrawn by members except on termination of membership or under special conditions.

Members can withdraw cash, and get loans from SSBC.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin said Arni, who started out as an administrative executive and rose to the position of assistant manager between November 2005 and January 2008, was in charge of processing payments for members. She also processed members' loans, deposits, withdrawals, and also kept records of members' accounts.

She also attended to walk-in members, received application forms and cash payments, and disbursed cash withdrawals from specific deposit accounts that were not more than $300.

Hanati, who joined SSBC in April 2008, helped to recover loans taken by its members and also covered Arni's duties in her absence.

Investigations showed that between 2008 and 2013, the duo exploited the disbursement of money by scheming to deceive SSBC into giving money to them through the use of phantom members.

Among other things, they prepared false member termination letters, account movement records and employee manifests, false loan applications, copies of identity cards and payslips to deceive SSBC into disbursing subscription fees and specific deposits and loans to the bank accounts of phantom members.

The phantom members were their friends and relatives.

They would instruct the phantom members to withdraw the money and hand the money over to them.

SSBC lost $5.1 million as a result of their criminal conduct.

Both women spent the money on personal expenses, outward telegraphic transfers to Malaysia, staycations at five-star hotels and gym memberships with personal training sessions.

Arni also went on vacations to Europe and Malaysia with her family, rented a condo at Savannah Condopark and splurged on home renovation works.