SINGAPORE: Affected by his marriage breakdown, a former StarHub shop manager claimed he "went crazy" and dishonestly misappropriated 847 mobile phones from his employer.
For that, 44—year—old Chong Siam was sentenced to five—and—a—half years’ jail on Thursday.
Chong pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal breach of trust involving $519,554 worth of mobile phones. Three other similar counts were taken into consideration.
Chong was in charge of operations at his outlet during the time of the offences, which took place from 2007 to 2010.
He had access to the shop’s inventory of phones and had the authority to bypass certain company procedures.
Chong, who was saddled with gambling debts, decided to devise a ruse to pay them off. His mode of operation included abusing his knowledge of StarHub’s procedures to obtain new mobile phones.
Chong then sold the phones to a second—hand phone dealer for cash.
His offences only came to light in 2011 during record checks. Chong confessed when he was confronted by StarHub’s management.
The court heard that he has not made any restitution to date.
In mitigation, Chong, who is not represented, apologised to his former employer and colleagues.
Pleading for leniency, Chong said he was facing a "difficult time" and wanted to "restart life again".
District Judge Jasvender Kaur noted this, but chastised Chong for exploiting to full advantage the trust that his employer had in him.
She also emphasized the significant amount of handphones and money involved.
For criminal breach of trust, Chong could have been jailed up to seven years and fined on each charge.
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