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Bank employee replaces genuine notes with fake bills & blank paper; embezzles S$1.13m from company safe

He also withdrew more cash than what customers requested, so he could pocket the balance.

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Singapore — A banking operations specialist took almost S$1.13 million from his company’s safe over the course of two years, which he used for gambling or repaying personal debts.

He was able to embezzle the sums by taking genuine notes from his company’s safe and replacing them with counterfeit ones bought online or blank sheets of paper cut up in the shape of genuine notes. Tan also withdrew more cash than what customers requested, so he could pocket the balance.

On Monday (Dec 20), 38-year-old Tan Chen Yen pleaded guilty to six charges, including criminal breach of trust by a servant, falsifying accounts, and buying and using counterfeit notes. Another 14 charges were taken into consideration.

Tan was sentenced to seven years and five months’ imprisonment.

Tan was employed as a banking operations specialist for Bank Pictet & Cie in Marina Bay Financial Centre from February 2015 to August 2018.

He was responsible for the company’s safe, which held notes in different currencies and facilitated clients’ cash deposits and withdrawals.

Tan was also tasked to order currency notes from UOB when the safe’s supply ran low, among other administrative duties.

He began pocketing funds between late 2016 using the said methods, reported Straits Times.

On Aug 31, 2018, a colleague discovered an envelope filled with blank sheets of paper cut in the same size as real notes.

When the incident was reported to the chief operating officer, a physical counting of the currency notes in the safe was conducted.

Tan eventually confessed that the envelope was his, and he admitted to his past actions.

According to an internal investigation, Tan had taken around S$1.13 million, of which S$62,258 was made in restitution to the bank.

Tan said he gambled the money in an attempt to win back what he took, as well as for personal expenses.

Deputy Public Prosecutor David Menon asked for a sentence between seven years and six months and seven years and 10 months imprisonment for Tan, noting the amount was substantial and had not been recovered by the bank.

“The accused has only made minimal belated restitution, and while the contents of the safe were insured, the insurance only covered robbery, not misappropriation by an employee,” he added.

Still, DPP Menon highlighted that Tan did not distribute the counterfeit notes to customers nor allowed them to enter circulation.

“This would have damaged public confidence in Singapore’s banking system.”

Tan could be imprisoned for up to 10 years, fined, or both for falsification of accounts.

Meanwhile, the penalty for criminal breach of trust as a servant is imprisonment for up to 15 years and a fine.

For using counterfeit notes, Tan could have been given a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine. /TISG

Read related: Woman who embezzled S$1.5 million from charity, lost most of the stolen money in a love scam, netizens disappointed over such actions

Woman who embezzled S$1.5 million from charity, lost most of the stolen money in a love scam, netizens disappointed over such actions

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