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Ex-Maybank Manager Takes S$1.4M From Work Safe For Gambling & Debts, Gets Jail

Maybank Manager Takes Bank’s Money For Gambling & Repayment Of Debts

The court recently sentenced a former manager from a Maybank branch in Singapore to jail after he had taken roughly S$1.4 million from the bank.

He suffered heavy losses from trading and was borrowing money from various sources to pay off his debts.

The manager also started gambling to try and earn back what he lost. Eventually, he wound up taking money from the bank’s safe.

3 years & 10 months’ jail for Maybank manager

According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), 34-year-old Phua Kai Liang received three years and 10 months’ worth of jailtime on Wednesday (27 Sep).

This came after he pled guilty to two counts of charges of criminal breach of trust as an employee.

He had reportedly converted his criminal proceeds into casino chips. The court also took a third similar charge into consideration.

Oversaw employees & had access to cash in bank’s safe

At the time of the offences, Phua was working as a service manager for the Choa Chu Kang branch of Maybank.

Maybank manager gambling debtsMaybank manager gambling debts

Source: Google Maps

His responsibilities included managing employees and overseeing day-to-day operations.

This included opening and closing the branch, counting the cash in the bank’s safe, and managing the security alarm.

He had access to the key to the cabinet housing the safe, which opens with a combination code and another key.

As service manager, Phua reported directly to the branch manager.

Maybank resorted to gambling & taking money from bank to repay debts

Back in early 2021, Phua incurred heavy losses and credit card debt due to trading in the foreign exchange (Forex) market.

He then borrowed money from friends, family, and licensed moneylenders, and resorted to gambling at the casino in an attempt to make back his losses.

Subsequently, he started to use money from the bank’s safe to fund his trading and gambling in March that same year.

Maybank manager gambling debtsMaybank manager gambling debts

Source: Expat Living Singapore, for illustration purposes only

He would deposit the money he had stolen into his bank account or use it to buy casino chips at the casino at Marina Bay Sands.

Would pay back cash to the bank after he made money at the casino

Phua then returned the money to the safe when he had winnings from gambling.

He also used the money he won to pay his debts or take part in more trading.

To avoid detection, he would make sure to return the money before the following business day and ensured the number and denomination of notes tallied with the bank’s records.

Between 23 Mar 2021 and 10 June 2021, the service manager misappropriated S$1,439,250 from the bank, CNA reported.

Lost all the money he stole, was unable to return cash to the safe

However, things took a turn in June 2021. Phua had taken S$404,000 from the safe and lost the entire sum gambling.

Having run out of options, he confessed to his parents and fiancée. The latter encouraged him to come clean to Maybank and agreed to help him repay the institution.

Source: Unsplash, for illustration purposes only

She gave him S$404,000 in cash, and he returned that sum to the safe.

Heeding her advice, he then owned up to what he did to the branch manager.

Court ruled that he made full repayment to bank, granted sentence deferment

On Wednesday (27 Sep), the judge sentenced Phua to three years and 10 months in jail for his offences.

The prosecution had initially requested a sentence of between 48 and 60 months, adding that he would not have owned up if he had not lost the money.

However, they also acknowledged that the bank did not suffer any losses.

On the other hand, the defense was seeking a sentence of 36 to 45 months instead. They claimed that their client was in a difficult financial position, even though it was “of his own doing”.

“He does acknowledge that ultimately he is the architect of his own disaster,” his lawyer said.

Source: Unsplash, for illustration purposes only.

Finally, the judge ruled that he had abused his employers’ trust and that the value of his offences was very high.

Although he took steps to hide his crime, the judge considers the bank has received full restitution from him.

Additionally, the judge also granted him a deferment on his sentence to serve his notice with Maybank and iron out his personal affairs.

Also Read: Ex-OCBC Bank Teller Steals Nearly S$10K For Gambling Habit, Gets 26 Weeks’ Jail

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Featured image adapted from Google Maps

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