Receptionist at Mount Elizabeth clinic gets jail for embezzling more than S$88,000

Receptionist at Mount Elizabeth clinic gets jail for embezzling more than S$88,000

Mount Elizabeth medical centre and hospital in Singapore
Mount Elizabeth medical centre and hospital in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: A receptionist at a clinic in Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre embezzled more than S$88,000 over three-and-a-half years.

Sharmaine Andrianto, 48, was sentenced to six months' jail on Friday (Oct 25) after pleading guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust as a servant, with three other charges taken into consideration.

The misappropriation occurred between April 2014 and November 2017, with S$88,820 involved across all charges.

The court heard that Andrianto began working in February 2014 as a receptionist for HK Tan Surgery, a clinic offering general surgery and aesthetic laser treatments located at 3 Mount Elizabeth.

She manned the registration counter, dispensed medicine and collected payments, and was also granted full access to the Clinic Program Manager (CPM) as part of her job.

The CPM captured patient records, payment details and dispensed medication, and Andrianto was allowed to make changes to the records.

The receptionist had to generate a daily sales report through the CPM and a daily settlement through the credit card terminal at the end of the day, before handing over the documents to the clinic director.

After checking that the figures tallied, the director would hand the cash back to Andrianto for crediting into a bank.

Andrianto embezzled the money by keeping a sum of money for herself after receiving the cash from the director, before handing it to a CISCO officer for banking.

She would then amend the payment records in the CPM at the end of each month to ensure that they tallied with banking slips.

She also pocketed some cash payments made by patients, adjusting the amounts paid in the CPM, or amend records to indicate that the patient had paid by VISA instead of cash.

Andrianto covered up her tracks by deleting original receipts issued to patients and printed out amended ones, and reflected the amendments on relevant documents before submitting them to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

"According to the accused, she got more and more confident over the years after taking the cash monies and amending the records as she thought that there was no way the complainant could detect the discrepancies," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Yu Hui.

CLINIC DIRECTOR COVERED HER WHEN SHE WENT ON LEAVE, DISCOVERED CRIME

Her offences were uncovered in late November 2017, when a clinic director covered Andrianto's duties as she had gone on leave.

She noticed discrepancies in the transactions and got an auditor to conduct checks, which revealed that S$88,820 had been unaccounted for over the past four years.

When Andrianto returned from her leave, the director confronted her, and Andrianto initially wondered how her ruse had been uncovered.

She later admitted to taking the money, spending it on herself and her family, and amending the records.

The director lodged a police report in December that year.

Andrianto has since made full restitution for the clinic's losses.

The prosecutor asked for six months' jail, saying that Andrianto had been convicted of criminal breach of trust previously in 1994 and 1995.

While these are dated, they are relevant, and the amount involved is substantial and committed over some time, said the prosecutor.

Defence lawyer Ng Kwong Loong from Populus Law said in his mitigation that his client had borrowed money from loan sharks and had been harassed to make payments.

However, the prosecutor said this was her first time hearing of this as Andrianto had not informed the police of this in her statements.

The judge said it bothered him that even though the past convictions were dated, this was the third time Andrianto was doing it.

"My client has made full restitution for all charges, and her antecedents are ... more than 20 years ago," said the defence, asking for four to six months' jail.

The judge granted Andrianto a deferment of sentence to Nov 25.

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

Source: CNA/ll

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