Ex-pawnshop executive jailed for $465k criminal breach of trust

A customer services executive of Maxi-Cash Ventures, who misappropriated $464,623 worth of gold bars and other valuables from the pawnshop was jailed for five years on Thursday for criminal breach of trust and money-laundering.

Desmond Kee Chia How, 27, now unemployed, pleaded guilty to misappropriating five 1kg gold bars, jewellery, two Rolex watches and cash of $108,737 from the Maxi-Cash Yishun branch at North Point shopping centre.

The offences were committed between July 2 and 4 last year.

He also admitted to transferring $308,000 to one Ah Di, an illegal moneylender he claimed to have owed money to, on July 3. The next day, he transferred the jewellery, watches and the cash of $108,737 to him.

The court heard that Kee was one of the two persons in charge of the pawnshop when he entered the vault to remove the property from one of its safes.

He claimed that three to four months before the offences, he had incurred significant gambling debts and sought a way to pay these debts.

Kee surrendered himself to the police on July 4. No restitution has been made.