A woman who used forged cheques to siphon over $1.6 million in funds from her company to pay off her husband’s gambling debts was jailed 90 months on Tuesday (12 September).
Wong Huey Min, a former accounts executive with Royal Garment Factory (RGF), was caught after she ran out of money to top up the company’s bank accounts.
The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to 20 forgery charges in August while 139 similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
While at RGF, Wong was entrusted with the task of writing up cheques before they were signed by the company’s managing director Heng Yang How.
From 2009 to 2015, Wong would forge Heng’s signature on cheques before issuing them to either her husband or herself. She, or an unwitting colleague, would then deposit the cheques or withdraw the amount on the cheques in cash.
Wong had been entrusted to oversee the company’s finances from 2010. She would reassure Heng that everything was under control whenever he asked to view RGF’s accounts.
When the company’s bank accounts ran low on funds, Wong would make deposits to avoid detection.
She would also cover up inconsistencies in accounting records by forging bank statements. She did this by typing the figures into her computer, printing them out and then pasting them on the original bank statements before photocopying the forged statements for RGF’s records.
During the six years and four months that she committed the offences, Wong managed to siphon a total of $1,674,627.08 from the company and used the money to pay off her husband’s gambling debts.
A shareholder discovered her unlawful withdrawals in 2014, after Wong ran out of money to make deposits into the accounts. The shareholder then filed a police report against her.
Wong’s case was adjourned following her conviction on 24 August for her to make restitutions to the company, but she has since been unable to do so. Wong’s lawyer, Diana Ngiam, asked for six years’ jail, citing her client’s remorse.
District Judge Wong Li Tein said that the amount misappropriated was high and that a high level of trust had been placed in Wong. She added that Wong was systematic and persistent, and knew how to take the funds while avoiding detection.
Wong could have been jailed up to 15 years and/or fined on each charge of forging a valuable security or will.
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