When Mrs Lee Chan Fong's business partner allegedly absconded with more than $1 million of her money from their renovation business, the 45-year-old went straight to the police.
The business partner, a bearded middle-aged man known as Johnson, had taken charge of the company's accounts after he bought into the business in 2010, Mrs Lee told The Straits Times yesterday.
She alleged that he had issued blank cheques on which her signature was forged and cashed cheques from contractors without depositing the money into the company's account.
But an even bigger shock awaited her after she made a police report last August.
She found out from the police that Johnson was actually a woman.
"The officers wanted to verify some details with me, so they interviewed me a second time and asked if he was male," said Mrs Lee in Mandarin.
"They showed me his IC (identity card) photo in their database and he was not only a woman, but also had been convicted before." Mrs Lee said she was stunned by the discovery because Johnson has a wife and four children.
"He was close to my husband and my family, and I've met his wife," she added, describing him as a long-time family friend. "His parents have gone on holiday to Hong Kong with my brother and mother. Also, my husband loaned him $170,000, which has not been repaid."
Johnson could not be contacted since last year, said Mrs Lee.
When The Straits Times contacted Johnson's brother yesterday, he confirmed his "brother" used to work with Mrs Lee. But he said he does not keep in touch with his sibling and refused to speak further.
Police confirmed Mrs Lee made a police report last August and the case is still under investigation.
This article was first published on July 17, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.