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Singapore

Jail for employee who used company's printers for his own printing business, earning S$57,000

SINGAPORE: Feeling that he was not given enough opportunities to progress in his career, a production manager at a printing company began printing items for his own clients using the firm's equipment.

He used the company's resources to fulfil orders for his freelance clients and later set up his own printing company, making a profit of more than S$57,000 at his employer's expense. 

Mike Song, 56, was given a year's jail on Thursday (Jul 29). He pleaded guilty to two charges of criminal breach of trust as an employee, with another four charges taken into consideration.

The court heard that Song worked as a production manager at 8 Ink Media, which specialised in printing services. The company transferred its assets and employees, including Song, to INX Events & Productions in February 2019.

Song began working for the company in October 2014, when it first started out printing banners. As the production manager, he fulfilled the printing orders sent to the company and was entrusted with printing resources such as ink and paper.

However, he began using his company's resources to print materials which he sold on the side from November 2015. He was often physically absent from work during office hours and returned to work late at night.

Song began his freelance operations as he felt the company was not giving him sufficient progression or opportunities even though it was expanding and doing well.

He set up his own company specialising in printing services in August 2016 and searched for his own clients while still employed with 8 Ink Media.

He continued to print banners and other materials for his personal clients using his employer's property in 2017 and 2018. He printed materials using his employer's resources on 70 occasions over the two years.

In total, he earned about S$57,480 from his personal clients between November 2015 and December 2019. This amount was counted as loss to his employers.

Even after the company's assets and employees were transferred to INX Events & Productions, Song continued with his own business up until December 2019.

Another employee flagged Song's actions to the company's general manager on Feb 1, 2020, and a police report was made. 

Song agreed to repay the company S$58,000 in instalments, and completed paying in full on Jun 9, 2021.

For each charge of criminal breach of trust as an employee, he could have been jailed up to 15 years and fined.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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