HR Employee In Singapore Jailed For Giving Herself $148,000 In Unauthorised Pay Raise

The employee pleaded guilty on June 3 this year. (Representative pic)

A human resource employee in Singapore has been jailed for 18 months for making bogus pay claims for herself involving $148,000. According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Tan Lee Nah, 53, was in charge of the payroll system at D’Perception Singapore, an interior design firm. In May 2017, just two months after joining the company, she started to submit false claims for expenses, up until she was caught in November 2019. In these 2.5 years, she managed to give herself $148,000 in unauthorised pay rise to fund her child’s tuition fee and her parent’s medical bills. 

According to SCMP, a judge said that Ms Tan treated the company’s coffers like her “personal piggy bank”. The court found that she claimed false travel expenses, ranging from $750 to $7,300 each month. 

From January to November 2019, she added mobile phone expenses, paid holiday allowances and some extra expenses to her claims. In 2017, she was asked to transfer money to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) as two month’s contributions for a new employee. However, she misappropriated the cheques and put them in her account, the outlet reported. 

Notably, Ms Tan was the sole person with the password to the company’s payroll system, and it was routine practice for her to input all the staff’s salaries into the system. 

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Her scheme was exposed when an employee saw a copy of Ms Tan’s salary statement on the printer, which showed she had received allowances in addition to her basic salary. The employee alerted the management which then launched an investigation and called the police a month later. 

The 53-year-old told the court that the money she had misappropriated was spent on her child’s education and her parents’ medical bills. She pleaded guilty on June 3 this year to two charges of sham reimbursement and one of criminal breach of trust for cashing two cheques. She had not compensated her employer because she lacked the financial means to do so. 

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