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Ex-IT manager who embezzled company laptops and spent money on female livestreamers gets jail

Ex-IT manager who embezzled company laptops and spent money on female livestreamers gets jail

A person using a laptop. (File photo: Unsplash)

SINGAPORE: A former IT manager who tricked two firms into delivering 40 "company" laptops to him and sold them off, purportedly to splash the cash on female online livestreamers, was jailed for two years on Friday (Oct 29).

Chen Weizhou, 35, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of criminal breach of trust by misappropriation and two counts of cheating, with a fourth charge taken into consideration.

He worked as an IT manager for Irisnation Singapore from 2018 and was in charge of maintaining and procuring computer equipment.

Between November 2019 and May 2020, he took laptops from the company in two ways: First, by taking home 17 laptops from the company's server room, and second - by tricking two companies into believing that Irisnation intended to buy laptops from them.

No one questioned him when he took the company laptops home from the server room due to his position as IT manager. He sold the 17 laptops on Carousell for S$11,500.

He cheated Generic Technologies and Computer Infotech into delivering 40 laptops worth about S$110,000 to his home address after submitting purchase requests to them certified with his company stamp.

After receiving the MacBooks from the two companies, Chen accessed the email accounts of his managing director, finance manager and finance assistant to keep a lookout for any invoices from Generic Technologies or Computer Infotech.

He also added the email domains of both companies to the spam list of Irisnation's servers, to block their emails demanding payment for the laptops from reaching his colleagues.

His finance manager lodged a police report in June 2020 anyway, after discovering the unauthorised purchase of laptops that had gone missing.

The prosecution had called for 30 months' jail, while the defence asked for 18 months.

He said Chen lived with his parents and became "lured into making substantial gifts" to certain female online livestreamers when he started watching them in 2018.

Fearful that they might close down their channels, Chen lavished money on them, with the amounts snowballing over time and resulting in his crimes.

He has since deleted all the livestreaming applications from his devices and is "committed to change", said the lawyer.

For criminal breach of trust by an employee, Chen could have been jailed up to 15 years and fined.

For each count of cheating, he could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined.

Source: CNA/ll(zl)

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