Fresh convictions, so ex-lawyer's jail term extended

SINGAPORE - Former lawyer Tan Cheng Yew had his 12-year jail term for cheating and criminal breach of trust (CBT) stretched to 13 years on Friday after he was convicted of two new charges.

After pleading guilty to misappropriating nearly $1 million from Mr Lim Kok Koon and cheating Mr Robert Ang De Wei of $100,000, the 45-year-old was sentenced to a year in jail.

The Malaysian, who is a Singapore permanent resident, committed these offences in 2002 and 2003, when he was a partner at law firms Tan Cheng Yew & Partners, and then Tan Jin Hwee, Eunice & Lim Choo Eng.

Looking frail and much older than his age, Tan displayed no emotion when the new sentence was passed.

Just two years ago, he received a nine-year jail term, which was increased to 12 years on appeal, for criminal breach of trust and cheating clients to the tune of $4.8 million in a separate case.

Friday, Tan's older brother, Senior Counsel Tan Cheng Han, argued that the new one-year sentence should run concurrently, instead of starting only after he finishes his current jail term in 2017.

SC Tan, the former dean of the National University of Singapore law faculty, said 12 years in jail was enough punishment for all of his brother's crimes.

But the court rejected this due to the seriousness of the latest charges.

The maximum penalty for criminal breach of trust is a jail term of three years and a fine. For cheating, Tan could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

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