Alleged accounting fraud commonly finds itself with a charge of falsification of accounts under Section 477A of the Penal Code.
A person, in the capacity of a clerk, officer or servant, who wilfully and with the intent to defraud destroys, alters, conceals, mutilates or falsifies any account belonging to his employer OR makes or abets the making of any false entry in, or omits, alters, abets the omission or alteration of any account shall be charged under this section.
“Account” includes any book, electronic record, paper, writing or valuable security
If convicted, the accused can be punished with an imprisonment for up to 10 years, or with fine, or with both. Although falsification of accounts may come alongside a charge of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT), the court is likely to treat these charges as ‘distinct offences’. Hence, ’separate set(s) of punishments’ are likely to be imposed when one has charges of both s 477A and s 409 (CBT). Sentences may be also be aggravated depending on the accused’s culpability.
In Singapore, we see some well-known cases involving the falsification of accounts in the 2009 case of Sunshine Empire (a MLM company) whose manager James Phang was sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment and fine of $60,000, and the ongoing City Harvest Trial where the same has been charged alongside with CBT.