Woman jailed 30 months for stealing $287,290 from association by forging bank statements
SINGAPORE – For about five years, an administrative manager helped herself to money from the welfare association she worked for by taking the rent and event payments meant for it.
To hide her deeds, the woman, Chin Nyuk Khuen, forged the association’s bank account statements by placing her own print-outs on top of an original bank statement and photocopying it so that the fake statements would bear the bank’s letterhead and reflect a false account balance.
Despite this rudimentary method, Chin, 66, managed to do it undetected from 2013 to 2018.
In total, Chin misappropriated $287,290 from Char Yang (Dabu) Lee Chee Association, which provides welfare to the Hakka community.
She spent the money on gambling, treated her friends to meals, and used some of the money for her personal expenses.
On Monday (Aug 24), a wheelchair-bound Chin appeared in court and was sentenced to 30 months’ jail for three charges of criminal breaching of trust, one charge of committing forgery and another for fraud. Five other charges were taken into consideration.
The court heard that Chin suffers from renal disease, and this was a mitigation factor in her sentencing.
Chin’s crimes were discovered after the former treasurer of Char Yang (Dabu) Lee Chee Association filed a police report on Jan 30 last year.
The Straits Times understands that there is another Hakka association in Singapore – the Char Yong (Dabu) Association Singapore. The associations are unrelated.
The court heard that the association’s main source of revenue was rental income from properties it leased to tenants. As the administrative manager, Chin collected the rent, prepared receipt vouchers for the rent, and deposited the payments into the association’s OCBC account.
From February 2016 to December 2018, she received monthly rental payments from two tenants and later spent the money on gambling, treating her friends to meals, and personal expenses.
In total, she kept $225,900 of the rental payments between February 2016 and December 2018 and did not return the money.
To conceal the crime, Chin forged bank statements by using Microsoft Word to create a table of transaction details that was similar to actual OCBC account statements. Within this table, she included false cash deposits from the rental payments, event payments collected from members who attended events organised by the association, as well as a false account balance.
She then printed the table out, placed it on top of an original OCBC account statement, and photocopied the two documents together so that the final document would have the OCBC letterhead and footer with the forged table of transaction details.
From January 2014 to August 2018, she made 44 forgeries, and the total value of the false entries was $158,030.
Chin, who was unrepresented in court, also falsified receipt vouchers to indicate that the association had received the payments. From May 2013 to August 2018, a total of 73 receipt vouchers were falsified and the association lost $287,290.
In sentencing, District Judge Ng Peng Hong took Chin’s medical condition into account and noted that she would be able to receive dialysis treatment while serving her jail term.
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