Monday, June 6, 2011

Woman jailed for forging signatures on cheques

By Fann Sim | SingaporeScene – Mon, Jun 6, 2011

A 30-year-old woman has been jailed four years and 11 months for forging her former employer's signature on cheques to embezzle over S$1.3 million, reported Channel NewsAsia.

Samantha Chiam Hwee Theng, a former personal secretary, had committed the offences between February 2006 and February 2009 and pleaded guilty to nine of the 33 charges brought against her.

She had forged the signature of her ex-boss, Wu Chin Wei, 38, before using the money on shopping, vacations and household expenses.

According to her lawyer, Chiam suffered from a condition known as 'shopaholic disorder'. In mitigation, he revealed that she 'readily lost control' in the habit once she started shopping.

She is also said to have spent S$10,000 during her visits to Louis Vuitton and S$30,000 to Chanel on several occasions.

According to a report by Dr Lim Yun Chin, a psychiatrist from Raffles Hospital, Chiam's lawyer said that she had 'often experience guilt for embezzling money to fund her shopping compulsion'.

However, another psychiatrist who assessed Chiam disagreed. Dr Jerome Goh Hern Yee from the Institute of Mental Health stated that her offending was 'motivated more by social needs and her desire for her family's acceptance and respect', said Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong.

Both psychiatrists agreed that Chiam's offences involved pre-meditation and planning and were not committed on impulse and could not have been caused by her disorders.

Chiam has compensated S$100,000 to her former boss and surrendered goods amounting to S$400,000.

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