Man resold S$153,000 worth of meat products from his business after failing to get a refund and is jailed


SINGAPORE: After being released from jail for embezzling money from his business, a man found a new job at a food and beverage company.

He asked for part-time workers to help him with his workload, but was not reimbursed for their wages immediately, so he borrowed money from a loan shark to pay them.

Tan Han Boon, 50, began pocketing more than S$153,000 in groceries from the company to resell to other vendors to raise the money to repay the unlicensed pawnbroker.

On Thursday October 20, Tan was sentenced to 18 months and two weeks in prison and banned from driving for two years.

He pleaded guilty to one count of breach of trust by an attendant and one count of driving without a license. Two other charges were considered.

The court heard that Tan had previously been jailed four times for criminal breach of trust by embezzlement. His last conviction dates back to 2019, when he pocketed money as a senior supervisor and buyer at a restaurant.

After being released from prison, Tan found a job as an assistant manager at F&B company Kanada-Ya SG, earning S$2,800 a month.

He was in charge of hiring and supervising part-time staff and was also in charge of petty cash to purchase ingredients from vendors.

In November 2019, Tan approached his boss to say he needed additional part-time staff to help with the cooking. His boss asked him to employ these workers, and Tan hired three people.

They were paid around S$8 an hour and usually worked nights in the kitchen. When Tan attempted to seek reimbursement from the company, he was not reimbursed immediately because the company was concerned about whether the part-time staff had been hired in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Manpower. work.

Because Tan had already hired the staff, he had to pay their salaries out of his own pocket while waiting to be reimbursed. He said the S$2,000 he received each month in petty cash for ingredients was insufficient to cover his costs.

In November 2019, Tan took out an illegal loan to pay the salaries of new workers. By the end of December 2019, the company had still not reimbursed Tan for his disbursements for part-time staff.

The company hired a third-party vendor on December 31, 2019 to settle overdue accounts with Tan. The seller made repayments to Tan on a near-weekly basis from January 2020 to March 2020, but they were not enough to cover the interest payments that had accrued on Tan’s illegal loan.

In order to repay the loan shark, Tan began diverting food products from the company to resell to other vendors in July 2020.

He did this by ordering groceries on behalf of the company and reselling them to other buyers, often at below-market prices.

Between July 2020 and October 2020, he made purchases amounting to S$153,234 on behalf of the company for food items like frozen pork loin and chicken pieces.

He also pocketed S$1,200 in petty cash to pay an egg supplier. The company discovered his wrongdoings in October 2020, filed a police report and fired him.

Tan then found another job as a courier, but he didn’t have a driver’s license. He was given strict instructions not to drive the delivery vehicle, and Tan hired a driver for his deliveries.

However, Tan drove the company van on July 7, 2021 from his home to a warehouse. He collided with a taxi when the taxi changed lanes.

Deputy Attorney General Tay Jia En called for a jail term of at least 30 months and two weeks, with a two-year driving ban. He said it was the fifth time Tan has appeared in court for criminal breach of trust.

Tan’s lawyer, Asoka Markandu, who was previously a prosecutor, said 30 months was a “high” sentence to ask for. He asked for 24 months instead, if not less.

He said his client had been trying to change his life when the incident happened and highlighted how the company had acted.

When Tan joined the company, he was initially the only one working in the factory, making the broth. When he told his employer he needed more workers, he was told to find them himself and claim reimbursement, Mr Asoka said.

Tan hired three part-time workers and had to pay S$6,000 to S$8,000 per worker depending on hours worked. He expected to be reimbursed, Mr Asoka said. When that didn’t happen, he turned to an unlicensed pawn shop.

The judge imposed a lower sentence than that requested by the prosecutor and the defense.

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Rozella J. Cook