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Bishan Community Club employee fined for pocketing S$6,200 paid by public for courses, events

Bishan Community Club employee fined for pocketing S$6,200 paid by public for courses, events

A screengrab from Google Street View of Bishan Community Club.

SINGAPORE: A management executive at Bishan Community Club (CC) who pocketed S$6,200 from the club's funds over about a year was fined S$8,000 on Friday (May 24).

Chia Soo Kean, 34, pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust by misappropriation of S$6,201 belonging to the club for her own use.

As part of her job, Chia handled bookings for courses and the use of the badminton court in Bishan CC, collecting payments from the public for these.

She was entrusted with safekeeping the cash, which she kept in locked drawers at her desk, and was required to submit the money and receipts to an accounts manager only when asked to do so.

Chia pocketed the money between July 2017 and April 2018 in sums ranging from S$80 to S$1,350. 

The money had been paid by the public for bookings and fees for courses and events like a factory tour, line dancing, cooking demonstrations and badminton court booking fees.

The misappropriation was discovered when a trainer told the deputy director of Bishan CC that she had not received her course fees for April 2018.

The deputy director conducted an internal investigation and realised that Chia had taken the money. When he confronted her, she admitted to taking it and he lodged a police report on May 30 last year.

She has since made full restitution.

CHIA WAS SOLE BREADWINNER: DEFENCE

Chia's defence lawyer, John Koh from Populus Law Corporation, told the court that Chia was the sole breadwinner of the family, paying for her mother's medical bills and household expenses.

Her mother was diagnosed with cardiovascular disease in 2012, with her condition worsening over the years. 

She needed to be hospitalised frequently and Chia was unable to clear her debts with the hospital as the bills accumulated, said the lawyer.

Chia began borrowing from moneylenders to foot her mother's medical bills, but her debts spiralled out of control until she misappropriated the cash from the CC, said the defence.

He added that Chia did what she did "out of love for her mother" and did not spend the money on herself.

"We have been instructed by Chia that despite her transgression, her ex-employers from Bishan Community Club had informed her that they are willing to give her a chance and re-employ her after the matter is concluded," said the lawyer. 

"This clearly shows that Chia is a reliable and diligent worker who acted in a moment of folly."

District Judge Tan Jen Tse allowed her to pay the fine in instalments of S$2,000, with the amount to be fully paid by October.

Source: CNA/ll

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