Police probe under way to help co-op defrauded of $5.1m recover lost funds

The Singapore Statutory Boards Employees' Cooperative Thrift and Loan Society said it is waiting for a probe to be completed before deciding on how to recover stolen funds.
The Singapore Statutory Boards Employees' Cooperative Thrift and Loan Society said it is waiting for a probe to be completed before deciding on how to recover stolen funds. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The cooperative which was defrauded of $5.1 million by its employees is waiting for a Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) probe to be completed before deciding on civil remedies to recover its funds.

In a statement to The Straits Times on Thursday (Aug 17), the Singapore Statutory Boards Employees' Cooperative Thrift and Loan Society (SSBEC) said the CAD is "currently carrying out investigations to recover the money".

"We are waiting for CAD to complete their investigations and will decide on the civil suit options to recover the money once we know the outcome," said an SSBEC spokesman.

Two female employees of the cooperative were jailed on Tuesday for misappropriating $5.1 million in funds from between 2008 and 2013.

Assistant manager Arni Ahmad, 42, and administrative executive Hanati Jani, 50, had deceived the co-op into disbursing money to them by creating phantom members.

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

 

They used the money to fund an extravagant lifestyle - buying staycations at five-star hotels such as Amara Sanctuary Hotel and Rasa Sentosa Shangri-La Hotel, as well as gym memberships with personal trainers.

Arni went on vacations with her family to Europe and Malaysia, made telegraphic transfers to Australia and Indonesia for her family's living expenses, rented a flat in Savannah Condopark in Simei and splurged on home renovations.

A 2014 inquiry by the Registry of Co-operative Societies found the fraud had placed the co-op in a vulnerable financial position.