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Woman who pocketed S$30,000 from restaurant at NUS Business School gets fine

Woman who pocketed S$30,000 from restaurant at NUS Business School gets fine

The Spread restaurant at the National University of Singapore. (Photo: Facebook/The Spread)

SINGAPORE: A woman working at a restaurant on the campus of the National University of Singapore (NUS) pocketed almost S$30,000 from the diner over almost two years.

For one count of criminal breach of trust by dishonest misappropriation, 24-year-old Malaysian Ooi Pei Jun was fined S$10,000 on Wednesday (Jun 24).

The court heard that Ooi was employed as a counter service staff member and barista at The Spread, a restaurant at NUS Business School at 15 Kent Ridge Drive.

As part of her job, Ooi served customers and manned the cash register. She had access to cash from daily sales and was authorised by her employer to perform daily closing of accounts.

She would count and place the daily cash proceeds in an envelope. The manager would then deposit the money into a bank account the following day. 

A colleague noticed something amiss while performing cashier duties, such as dollar bills being folded into small shapes, cash being placed at odd positions in the cash register, and discrepancies in the money tally.

The colleague informed Ooi's boss, who checked closed-circuit television footage at the restaurant on Sep 12, 2019, and saw Ooi taking a brown envelope from the cashier's drawer after placing three hundred-dollar notes in it.

Checks made on the point of sales system found numerous bill adjustment logs, and CCTV footage showed that Ooi had taken some cash without keying in cash sales transactions into the system.

She also turned off the CCTV system for 30 minutes to an hour while working during the opening shift.

When her boss confronted her, Ooi initially denied stealing any money, but later came clean and wrote a confession as per her employer's instructions.

She confessed to stealing between S$20,000 to S$30,000 from early 2018 to September 2019.

She used various techniques in her crimes, omitting cash transactions from the system and pocketing the cash, or amending payment modes for credit card transactions to balance the accounts.

Her employer asked her to return the money, and Ooi has made full restitution of S$29,825, the court heard.

The prosecutor asked for a fine of S$10,000, noting that Ooi had committed the offences over a period of time.

Ooi's lawyer pointed out that the actual charge against his client was for misappropriating only about S$8,000, even though she admitted to taking S$20,000 to S$30,000.

For criminal breach of trust, she could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(ac)

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