Woman with $10k salary misappropriated over $35k from firm, duped friend into paying her $300k

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
May 13, 2024

Earning $10,000 a month did not stop a general manager of a health management firm from making off with more than $35,000 from the bank account of the company, which her friend owned.

Yap Hwee Hsin, 48, also duped her 46-year-old female friend into paying her $300,000 in January 2019.

Yap, who was working at Lu Yu Tang Health Management at the time of the offences, was sentenced to nine months and two weeks’ jail on May 13 after she pleaded guilty to one count each of cheating, criminal breach of trust and forgery.

Yap, alias Yap Bee Siew, has since made full restitution for the losses caused to both the company and her friend, whom she has known since 2012.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sunil Nair told the court that Yap started working for Lu Yu Tang Health Management in October 2018, and she was entrusted with the funds in its bank account.

Two months later, she lied to her friend, claiming that the company needed an injection of $300,000 to apply for a supposed licence.

In fact, Yap needed the money to repay personal debts.

The victim, who believed her, provided cheques made out to the company, but they bounced.

Yap then told her that she would borrow the amount from another friend and the victim could repay her later.

On or around Jan 11, 2019, Yap lied to the victim again, this time claiming that she wanted to “repay” the friend.

Trusting her, the victim deposited $300,000 into Yap’s personal bank account.

Separately, Yap also withdrew $133,300 from the company’s bank account between Oct 1, 2018, and Jan 8, 2019, without informing the victim.

From this sum, Yap used over $98,000 on the company’s expenses and took more than $35,000 to repay her debts.

She also committed forgery in March 2019.

The victim had asked Yap for the company’s bank statements, and Yap provided forged copies of them for the months of January and February for that year.

After reviewing the documents, the victim queried her over some withdrawals.

Among other things, Yap told her that a security deposit of $90,000 had been paid for the company’s tenancy. Its location was not disclosed in court documents.

DPP Nair said: “The accused falsely claimed that the tenancy agreement was for a period of five years, and that the deposit was equivalent to five months’ rent, the monthly rent being $18,000.

“In truth, the tenancy’s term was for a period of 24 months, with the tenancy deposit amounting to just $36,000 (for) two months’ rent.”

When the victim asked to view the tenancy agreement, Yap handed her a forged version of the genuine document, which the landlord signed on Dec 11, 2018.

The forged document was altered to change the term to 60 months, with the tenancy deposit amounting to $90,000 for five months’ rent.

The truth emerged when the victim asked a property agent to help verify the details of the tenancy.

She then discovered that the actual term of the tenancy was two years, not five years.

The victim confronted Yap, who came clean about what she had done.

Yap’s bail was set at $20,000 on May 13. She is expected to surrender herself at the State Courts on June 24 to begin serving her sentence.

The Straits Times

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