Woman 'pocketed' $11m from luxury-watch firm

A former accounting manager with a luxury-watch firm misappropriated around $11 million over a 6 1/2-year period, a court heard yesterday.

Chew Siew Lang, 52, is accused of using more than $2 million of the pocketed money for personal expenses, gambling most of it away. Only $197,281.63 has been recovered.

The court was told that Chew caused losses amounting to $11,210,006.26 to the Asian unit of Swiss-based Chopard between Jan 17, 2006 and Aug 21, 2012.

She also allegedly falsified the firm's accounts to include expenses that had not been incurred by making a raft of bogus entries.

These ranged from "compensation" and "decoration materials", to "realised currency-exchange losses" and "advance paid to suppliers".

District Judge Eddy Tham set bail for Chew at $500,000 yesterday and ordered that her passport be seized.

It was not mentioned in court whether the accused's family will be able to raise the sum or whether she intends to claim trial to the charges.

Chew allegedly used $2,123,031 of the firm's money to place 4-D bets between Feb 3, 2009 and Aug 17, 2012, spending a five-digit sum on 75 different occasions.

A further $33,767.53 was allegedly used for credit-card bills in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

The short and plump woman, who faces 243 charges in all, will next appear in the State Court on Jan 20, pending a pre-trial conference date to be fixed in the High Court.

Chew, who is represented by Daniel Chia, could be jailed for up to 15 years and fined for most of the counts of criminal breach of trust if convicted.

The maximum penalty for falsifying accounts is seven years in prison and a fine.

Each count of using the ill-gotten money could involve a jail term of up to seven years and fines of up to $500,000.

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