Watch boutique manager jailed for stealing $776K

SINGAPORE - The manager of a luxury Swiss watch and jewellery boutique was jailed for 51/2 years yesterday after siphoning just over $776,000 from the company.

Chua Soh Keow, 49, would collect cash from customers at Piaget in Ngee Ann City - but she did not register every sale, or issue system-generated invoices to every customer.

She misappropriated sums ranging from $1,520 to as much as $688,844 during a scam that stretched from 2003 to 2009.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ilona Tan said Chua exploited the fact that her company Richemont Luxury only conducted stock checks twice a year.

She concealed her offences by accounting for the discrepancies with the inventory's available stock - temporarily replacing them with Piaget products brought in by customers for after-sales services and products issued to her by Richemont.

Some of the money she took helped to fuel her $9,000-a-week gambling habit, a district court heard. However she was found out when the company carried out a surprise stock check. The comprehensive audit showed products missing from Piaget's inventory and discrepancies in its accounts books.

Her boss lodged a police report on March 3, 2009, and she surrendered to the police two days later.

Last month, she pleaded guilty to three charges involving a total of $749,759 while the remaining charges were taken into consideration. The company recovered $18,714 from her.

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