SINGAPORE, Nov 18 — When faced with financial difficulties, an employee of Secretlab SG decided to misappropriate and sell 209 gaming chairs made by the firm, worth about S$118,541 (RM412,053.88), for his personal gain.
Gabriel Chan Guo Rong, 32, pleaded guilty to criminal breach of trust yesterday (November 17) and was sentenced to 14 months’ jail. He is no longer employed by Secretlab, a Singapore startup.
Chan came up with a scheme to sell Secretlab’s products between December 2018 and November 2019 with alleged accomplice Tan Zheng Qiang, whom he had known for at least six years. Tan’s case is pending.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kevin Liew told the court that at the time of the offence, Chan was a senior operations associate employed by Secretlab.
As part of his role, Chan arranged the distribution of the gaming chairs and knew the firm’s delivery schedules.
In December 2018, due to financial difficulties related to his credit card bills and personal expenses, Chan allegedly conspired with Tan to sell the gaming chairs at a price lower than the usual selling price.
Chan would arrange for the chairs to be picked up from Secretlab’s warehouse, after Tan had allegedly listed the chairs for sale on e-marketplace Carousell.
The chairs would then be picked up by Tan at a date and time when no one was around at the warehouse, where he would pay Chan a sum of money. Tan would then deliver the chairs to the buyers from Carousell.
Chan would earn about S$200 for each chair and gained about S$40,000 from reselling 209 chairs, which he used to pay for his credit card bills and personal expenses.
Secretlab’s website shows that the price of a chair now retails at more than S$500.
An operations associate at Secretlab made a police report in October 2019, stating that the company’s products were being sold by a third party without the firm’s authorisation.
DPP Liew sought a sentence of 14 to 16 months’ jail, given that the offence was carried out over 11 months and Chan had an active role in it, using his knowledge of the delivery schedules.
Following a civil suit, Chan was ordered to make a restitution of S$300 a month for a period of 50 months, set to end in September 2025.
He told the court that he had also made a lump-sum restitution payment of S$16,000 before the monthly payments began in July 2021.
District Judge Loh Hui Min acknowledged that Chan had since repaid around S$25,000 and that this partial restitution had reduced the company’s losses.
However, she said that restitution had begun only after civil proceedings, adding that Secretlab’s losses were large, and the offence was premeditated and initiated by Chan.
He had been motivated by financial gain and personally benefited by about S$40,000, the judge added.
For criminal breach of trust, Chan could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined. — TODAY