43 months' jail for woman who siphoned $403,000 from firm

43 months' jail for woman who siphoned $403,000 from firm

SINGAPORE - A management accountant who siphoned off more than $400,000 from her employer - allegedly with her then boyfriend's help - was jailed for more than 3½ years yesterday.

The court heard how single mother Zuo Jing, 31, misappropriated signed cheques by her employer, sand importer Riverton Group, to fund a "lavish lifestyle" that included a European holiday, gambling at Resorts World Sentosa, luxury goods and expensive meals.

She admitted to 12 of 28 charges, most of which involved conspiring with Ivan Lim Chin Ping, 30, to commit criminal breach of trust, money laundering and cheating between late 2013 and January last year.

Zuo was jailed for a total of 43 months yesterday.

She had re-offended while out on bail for a forgery offence and has been in remand since February last year.

Almost $403,000 was involved in the offences and no restitution has been made.

Lim has also been charged and the case against him is pending.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tow Chew Chi had said that Zuo, in conspiracy with Lim, misappropriated signed company cheques that were meant to pay vendors.

Sometimes she would deceive the signatories into signing the cheques, when no such payments were required, and cash them over the bank counters.

On other occasions, she deposited the cheques in the bank accounts of entities she had set up with Lim.

The total amount in the 11 cheques was $402,694.

The court also heard that Zuo forged the signature of another former boyfriend, Mr Alvin Toh Chi Sian, 32, on an authorisation letter to close three joint accounts at OCBC, then induced the bank to hand over $46,318 to her in March 2012.

District Judge Victor Yeo took into account the large sum of money involved in the offences - almost $450,000 - plus the high degree of pre-meditation and planning.

He also considered mitigating factors such as Zuo's remorse and a diagnosis from the Institute of Mental Health that she suffered from major depressive disorder.

Zuo, who was represented by Mr Sng Kheng Huat, had her sentence backdated to Feb 8 last year.

This article was first published on January 08, 2015.
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