Asia

Social Worker Jailed After Lavishly Spending $237,000 Meant for The Needy

Thirty-three-year-old Chia Kwang Hwee of Singapore was sentenced to five years and four months of jail after he was found guilty of stealing and spending money meant for ComCare beneficiaries, The Strait Times reported.

In a span of four years working as a social service welfare employee for the Community Care Endowment Fund, Chia managed to pocket approximately $237,000. While the money he stole would have helped families who are less deprived, Chia instead chose to lavishly spoil himself and his family.

The $237,000 stolen money was supposedly meant for 42 needy and low-income individuals and families. But instead of handing the checks to the recipients, Chia had the money deposited to his account.

Chia splurged on luxury items from Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, and Christian Dior and over indulged himself in fine dining restaurants, upscale salons, and expensive spas. He also spent some of the money on high-priced air tickets and 5-star hotels. He also used the money to settle debts and gave his family cash gifts.

Before a court, Chia pleaded to 19 charges including two counts of criminal breach of trust as a public servant, transferring criminal proceeds, and accessing q computer to commit breach of trust.

The crime was discovered after the Ministry of Social and Family Development was contacted by a beneficiary saying that he has not been receiving payouts. Chia was suspended from work once discovered. Police were able to confiscate 21 branded items from his home worth approximately $21,000.

Because of what happened, the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s internal auditor checked all office payments and made sure that there were no similar cases.

Here’s how Chia spent the money.

Air tickets

$3,647: Cathay Pacific Airways

$1,992: China Eastern Airlines

$1,418: SilkAir

$2,480: Thai Airways

Boutiques

$3,701: Club 21

$1,930: Mulberry

$5,465: Louis Vuitton

$3,500: Francis Cheong boutique

$1,500: Lane Crawford

$1,263: Ssense.com

$1,148: Christian Dior

Hotels

$1,000: Sheraton Towers

$2,047: W Hong Kong

Dining

$2,588: Chao Gang Cun Fine Dining

Grooming

$1,252: Jean Yip

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