Woman siphoned $449k from firm

A woman conspired with her lover to siphon money from her company and launder it in order to feed his gambling habit.

Zuo Jing cheated and misappropriated $449,012 in total.

The 30-year-old pleaded guilty last month to 12 of 28 charges involving $331,633.

The charges were mainly for conspiring with Ivan Lim Chin Ping, also 30, to cheat and commit criminal breach of trust over money which belonged to Zuo's employer, Riverton Group, a sand importer. Zuo worked as a management accountant there.

Lim's case is pending.

Zuo was actually out on bail for an unrelated matter when she committed the offences.

In the earlier case, she forged the signature of her former boyfriend, 32-year-old chef Alvin Toh Chi Sian, on an authorisation letter to close three OCBC accounts jointly held by them, deceiving the bank into releasing $46,318 in funds to her in March 2012.

While she was working at Riverton Group in April last year, two of her colleagues in the finance department resigned.

Zuo then found herself managing the department's work on her own.

It was during this time that her lover pressured her to provide him with money for his gambling habit, as well as to pay for car insurance and road tax, various debts and shopping expenses.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tow Chew Chi said the couple conspired to misappropriate 11 cheques from the company, totalling $402,694.

She would take some of those cheques and meet Lim, who would cash them at the banks, or she would do it herself.

At other times, the couple would deposit the cheques into the bank accounts of entities set up by them.

DPP Tow said they spent the money on various goods and services, such as a holiday in Europe, gambling at the Resorts World Sentosa casino, shopping for luxury goods and dining at fancy restaurants.

District Judge Victor Yeo adjourned the sentencing to Jan 7 and allowed Zuo to hug her two-year-old son, fathered by Lim, briefly after the court session.

This article was first published on December 23, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.