Clinic assistant jailed for embezzling more than S$111,000 from clinic

Clinic assistant jailed for embezzling more than S$111,000 from clinic

State Courts Singapore court crime - file photo
File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A clinic assistant who embezzled S$111,605 from her workplace over about two years was jailed for one year and four months on Thursday (Sep 12).

Sahrina Mohd Ghaus, 44, pleaded guilty to two charges of criminal breach of trust as a servant, with another two charges taken into consideration.

She worked at the Yew Tee branch of the Temasek Medical Centre, along with her co-accused Sim Swee Ching, 56.

As a clinic assistant, Sahrina's duties included helping with clinic operations, such as attending to walk-in patients, managing the Point-Of-Sale cash system and handling customer payments.

She was entrusted with the cash paid to the clinic and also performed basic cashier tasks and handled the petty cash float.

The court heard that she misappropriated funds from the clinic from May 2015 to March 2017, manipulating the Point-Of-Sale cash system and covering her tracks.

Sometime in March 2017, the other clinic assistant Sim approached Sahrina and also wanted to take money from the clinic, so Sahrina taught Sim how to do so undetected.

They took the cash during their break times in the early and late afternoon.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Ong asked for 16 months' jail, saying that there was a significantly large sum lost in this case, with no restitution made.

There was a sophisticated method used, and she had to cover her tracks by altering patient records, said the prosecutor, who did not reveal the methods used.

Defence lawyer Wee Hong Shern said the sentence asked for by the prosecution was a fair one. The co-accused Sim had been sentenced earlier to 15 months' jail.

He said his client had used the money to support her family, as she was the sole breadwinner after her father retired in 2014.

At the time of the offences, the youngest of her four children was also being treated at the Institute of Mental Health, said the lawyer in his mitigation plea.

District Judge Luke Tan said he saw no reason to go lower than what the prosecution was asking for.

"I think what's being sought, if anything, may well be considered on the low side," he said. "That said, she's pleaded guilty and I've looked at what counsel has written in mitigation."

For each charge of criminal breach of trust by a servant, Sahrina could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined.

Source: CNA/ll(hm)