GP gets 10 weeks' jail for transferring $197,000, five years before bankruptcy order

A doctor was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail on Friday after he was convicted of transferring more than $190,000 within five years prior to his bankruptcy.

Undischarged bankrupt Andrew Chee Weng Kheong, 58, was found guilty of four counts of transferring a total of $197,345 to his lover and her brother in 2004 and 2006.

Chee, who was cleared of four other similar charges involving $515,680, is appealing against conviction.

On Friday, District Judge Toh Yung Cheong found the general practitioner guilty of transferring three sums totalling $161,345 to Ms Lew Yek Yeong, his clinic assistant, and $36,000 to Ms Lew's brother, Mr Lew Kwan Koon, in March 2004 in the five years before the bankruptcy order was made. He was declared bankrupt in October 2006.

Chee made the news in 2011 when his ex-wife, Ms Elizabeth Lim Choo Suan, took contempt proceedings against him for failing to pay $115,000 in maintenance to her and her four children. They divorced in March 2004.

When he failed to pay her a share of the matrimonial assets of $184,000 soon after, Ms Lim petitioned successfully to make him bankrupt.

The court heard that Chee, owner of a clinic in Bukit Batok, had deposited the first prize Toto winnings of $617,914 into the joint account with his then wife in 2003.

Chee claimed that the winnings belonged solely to Ms Lew. The four cheques of between $3,000 and $250,000 he transferred to Ms Lew in 2003 were essentially "repayments'' of Ms Lew's Toto winning held by him in proxy, he said.

Acquitting him of these charges, District Judge Toh Yung Cheong said: "There was a distinct possibility, amounting to a reasonable doubt that Ms Lew and the accused were joint holders of the winning ticket and that part of the $671,914 belonged to Ms Lew."

As for the 2004 transfers to Ms Lew, the judge said Chee knew then that there were divorce proceedings and that there would ultimately be orders made regarding the division of matrimonial assets.

"The fact that large transfers of funds suddenly occurred shortly after Ms Lim filed for divorce leads to the inference that the accused was transferring his assets in order to frustrate any subsequent order regarding the division of matrimonial assets,'' he said.

Judge Toh, who convicted Chee of transferring $16,260 to Mr Lew a few weeks before he was declared a bankrupt. said Chee transferred his assets to prevent them from being seized by creditors. Chee could have been fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to three years on each charge.

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