He had been jailed three years in 1999 for forging cheques paid to the government and depositing them into his own bank account while working for the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
Following Kok Sing Choy’s release, he was offered a job as an administrative clerk in 2008 at Liching Electrical Enterprise. However, he repaid the trust of its owner, Goh Song Peo, by siphoning $65,000 from the company over a seven-year period to sustain his gambling addiction.
For these offences, the 63-year-old Kok was jailed got 36 months on Wednesday (13 September). He had pleaded guilty to 16 forgery charges, with 83 other similar charges having been taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that sometime in 2008, after joining Liching Electrical Enterprise, Kok faced financial difficulties due to his gambling habit. He decided to forge Goh’s signature on cheques to withdraw money from the company for his own use.
Kok, who had access to cancelled and photocopied cheques, would use correction fluid to delete all the details written on those cheques, except for Goh’s signature. He would then stick a new cheque to A4-sized sheets of paper and, using a photocopy machine, print Goh’s signature on the cheque.
In order to make them appear more authentic, Kok would place a sheet of paper over the forged cheques and go over Goh’s signature with a pen so as to create the impression that the cheques had been signed by hand.
The cheques, which were valued at no more than $2,000 each, would be deposited into bank accounts belonging to himself or his mother. Goh would then withdraw the money and gamble with it.
To cover his tracks, Kok created fake vouchers that corresponded to the cheques he had forged, and presented these vouchers to the company’s book keeper for filing. He would later destroy the vouchers once the book keeper returned them.
Kok was caught after Goh, who felt that his company was losing too much money when it should have been making profits, employed an auditor 2013 to check on his accounts. The audit report discovered a high amount of withdrawals from the company’s bank account that year.
Goh asked Kok to present him with the payment vouchers and cheque details corresponding to the withdrawals made, but Kok kept making excuses and avoided doing so.
After realising something was amiss, Goh confronted Kok, who then admitted to forging the cheques in 2013. He promised to pay back the money he had taken, but became uncontactable after that.
Goh investigated the matter further and realised that Kok had been siphoning money from his company since 2008. He then made a police report in January 2014.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Vadivalagan Shanmuga had pushed for a sentence of at least three years, given the number of aggravating factors such as Kok’s multiple offences, his previous offences and the fact that his crimes had been planned.
In mitigation, Kok’s lawyer, Henry Lim Ghim Siew, said that his client had “fully cooperated (with the authorities) and is very remorseful”. He also added that given Kok’s age, it is also unlikely for the latter to find a new job and, thus, commit the same offences again.
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