Exec jailed over wage scam

A FINANCIAL controller who cheated her employer into overpaying her more than S$300,000 (RM660,000) in salary, allowances and bonuses, including a sizeable retrenchment bonus, was jailed for four years. 

Janet Patt Lai See, 38, admitted on Thursday that she had abused her position by altering payroll summaries to inflate her pay for two years, and pleaded guilty to six charges of cheating. 

Another 22 were taken into consideration. 

A district court heard that Patt started scamming her employer three months after she joined animal feed wholesaler Gardner Smith (Southeast Asia) in January 2001. 

As its financial controller, she was entrusted with the company's cashflow and responsible for the operations of the accounts department. 

In April 2001, she submitted, via e-mail, the month's payroll summary for all employees to the payroll department for approval. 

After it was approved and e-mailed back to her, she altered the e-mail, inflating her salary from S$10,000 (RM22,000) to S$12,000 (RM26,400) and giving herself an unauthorised bonus of S$15,000 (RM33,000). 

She e-mailed this bogus summary to the company's external payroll administrator to process the payments. 

Patt did this every single month until July 2003.  

Besides overpaying herself, she also made fake claims for transport allowances and CPF contributions, and even included a S$30,000 (RM66,000) retrenchment bonus. 

In all, she cheated the company of $323,718.43, (RM712,180.54) which she used to pay her credit card bills and bank loans. 

The misdeeds were uncovered more than a year later. The company made a police report on Aug 10 last year.  

Pleading for leniency, Patt, who did not have a lawyer, said she was sorry for what she had done and wanted to continue to be a useful person when she is released from prison and reunited with her family. 

In sentencing her, District Judge Wong Keen Onn noted that she abused her high position of trust in the company and had put some thought into planning her scam. – The Straits Times  

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