Woman who cheated several employers of more than $63,000 jailed 45 months

Nigel Chin
Reporter
File photo of Singapore’s currency. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Over a period of two and a half years, she siphoned more than $63,000 from several companies that she worked for, and splurged it on trips to Germany and the UK, several smartphones, chocolates and groceries.

For that, Rosalina Ali, 40, was sentenced to 45 months in jail in the State Courts on Tuesday (12 October). She had pleaded guilty to six cheating charges and four charges of gaining unauthorised access to computer materials. Twenty other similar charges were taken into consideration.

The court heard that the offences started on 5 December 2014, when Rosalina was working at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) as a personal assistant and secretary to the Institute of Sports Research’s director, Leong Kah Fai.

Without authorisation, Rosalina made bookings for three rooms at The Singapore Resort and Spa Sentosa on behalf of NTU. She then brought her family to the hotel for a staycation from 13 December to 17 December, and ordered room reservations as well. A total sum of $6,188.66 for the staycation was charged to NTU.

On two days in December 2014, she spent almost $6,000 on Hershey’s and Toblerone chocolates, and cookies. Later in the same month, Rosalina booked travel tickets, accommodation and rail tickets to Germany from Dynasty Travel International, which was NTU’s appointed travel agency.

She told Dynasty that the trip was for an organised school trip, and directed Dynasty to bill NTU for it, which totalled $20,944. However, Rosalina brought her family for a holiday to Germany instead.

In March 2015, she ordered six iPhone 6s Plus for $5,688 in total from Singtel, and later sold the smartphones. She had submitted an official business mobile application form, without authorisation, to Singtel on behalf of NTU for the smartphones.

Later that month, she also booked accommodation and travel tickets for two to London with Dynasty, and directed Dynasty to charge NTU for it. Rosalina brought her daughter to London for an exchange programme, spending $6,654 on the trip.

Her offences were only discovered in May 2015 by Leong, who then lodged a police report. Between February 2016 and December 2016, Rosalina worked at Boehringer Ingelheim as an office administrator. Part of her job scope was to make hotel and travel bookings for the company’s director of finance, along with performing secretarial duties.

Because of that, she had access to two company credit cards. Without authorisation, she tried to make use of the cards to buy six flight tickets from Emirates Airlines worth $28,392 and four iPhone 7 256GB smartphones worth $2,776 each.

She only managed to buy two of the smartphones as the other transactions were cancelled by her company. Rosalina also made eight transactions on HonestBee.com for groceries worth more than $2000.

In May 2017, Rosalina started working for GalxoSmithKline as an administrator. Shortly after joining, she stole a corporate credit card from a manager, Shivani Saini, and purchased three sets of Samsung S8plus smartphones, which cost $3,894 in total.

Saini received an SMS alert from the transaction, before realising the credit card was missing. When she checked with Rosalina, the latter claimed she had no idea about it. Rosalina then threw the credit card away.

Rosalina then sold off the phones at $800 – at a loss of $500 – to people she had approached after spotting them leaving handphone shops at Jurong East MRT and Causeway Point shopping mall.

DPP V Jesudevan pushed for a sentence of at least 45 months, given her history of convictions. Rosalina had been convicted on cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust charges previously, with the first conviction happening 17 years ago in 2000.

In her mitigation, Rosalina said that she committed the offences because she needed the money to support her parents, parents-in-law, and four children. Most of the money she gained from her misdeeds was used for her children to go on internship programmes, as well as to get groceries, she added.

“I have no help. I can’t apply for social assistance because I don’t qualify for it,” said Rosalina, adding that the $3,600 monthly income she received was not enough to support three families.

“I know I have committed the crime… I just had to. It was the only way out for me at that point of time. I admit my mistake, I am very remorseful. Please show me some leniency.”

However, District Judge Luke Tan disagreed. He pointed out that while Rosalina portrayed herself as a victim, others are forced to “pick up the tab”.

“You are not a first-time offender with a host of offences… When you came out, you committed a whole string of offences (again). I agree with the prosecution that a harsh sentence must be imposed,” he said.

Rosalina, who has been in remand since 13 June 2017, will have her sentence backdated.

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