Indian-origin ex-Singaporean lawyer sentenced to jail for misusing clients’ money | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Gurdaib Singh Pala Singh, an Indian-origin former Singaporean lawyer has been sentenced to almost four years in jail for misappropriating SGD 480,000 entrusted to him by three clients.
According to a news report, the 70-year-old committed these offenses between 2011 and 2016. Despite being removed from legal practice in 2018, he continued to serve as an advocate and solicitor for a man in the following year.
The ex-lawyer’s bail, established at SGD 100,000 on January 25, indicates his anticipated surrender at the State Courts on February 15, initiating a jail term lasting three years and 11 months.
In July of the prior year, Singh, formerly associated with Gurdaib Cheong & Partners (GCP), admitted guilt to two counts of criminal breach of trust, involving nearly SGD 459,000, and an offense under the Legal Profession Act. An additional charge of criminal breach of trust, amounting to SGD 21,000, was considered during sentencing.
In December 2010, Zulkifli Osman enlisted GCP’s services for the sale of his late father’s flat. The property was sold on July 29, 2011, with GCP receiving the sale proceeds exceeding SGD 356,000 on Zulkifli’s behalf. Subsequently, an agreement between Zulkifli and Singh determined that Zulkifli’s brother was entitled to SGD 138,876.50 from the proceeds.
On December 15 of that year, Zulkifli deposited SGD 138,876 into GCP’s client account for his brother’s share of the sales proceeds. However, between Dec 20, 2011, and May 3, 2012, Singh misappropriated Zulkifli’s funds by issuing cheques for other purposes, including covering the firm’s office expenses.
Unaware of the fully expended funds, Zulkifli made three withdrawal requests to Singh between August 2012 and July 2014. In response, Singh disbursed SGD 10,156 to Zulkifli using money from the GCP client account belonging to the firm’s other clients.
In June 2015, Zulkifli requested Singh to withdraw the remaining SGD 128,720 from the funds, but Singh failed to disburse any money to him.
In a separate case, CH Assets International engaged in a memorandum of agreement to borrow USD 10 million (SGD 13.4 million) from the United Kingdom-incorporated firm OCS Capital on Nov 5, 2014. On the same day, CH Assets and Singh signed an escrow agreement that Singh had prepared.
Nine days later, CH Assets placed a deposit of SGD 320,000 into GCP’s client account as part of the loan agreement.
In prior proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew disclosed that between November 18 and December 23, 2014, Singh misappropriated the money, using it to cover expenses like GCP’s office costs.
In June 2015, CH Assets requested Singh to return its funds due to OCS Capital not fulfilling the loan agreement.
After persistent pleas for the money, Singh handed SGD 5,000 to CH Assets in September 2015. Subsequently, CH Assets reported the matter to the Law Society of Singapore on September 15, 2015.
The Deputy Public Prosecutor mentioned that starting from September 2015, Singh initiated restitution, totaling SGD 58,000 to CH Assets through nine payments. Singh was officially removed from legal practice on February 27, 2018.
Despite being struck off the rolls, Singh agreed to represent a man in divorce proceedings, withholding this information when they met in September 2019.
Between September 7 and 27, 2019, the man paid Singh SGD 1,750. The next month, Singh sent the man a drafted affidavit, which was subsequently filed with the courts.
Following this, Singh failed to provide any updates on the matter. On January 12, 2020, the man requested a full refund, expressing a desire to terminate Singh’s services.
Singh has returned SGD 1,000 to the man, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Yew.
(With input from agencies)

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