Accountant who gave part of $4m loot to needy jailed 9½ years
The accountant who misappropriated almost $4 million and gave part of it to the less fortunate has been jailed for nine years and six months.
Ariel Biasong Salamanes, 42, then an accountant at a data analytics company here, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three counts of criminal breach of trust, five counts of falsification of accounts and seven charges under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA). Another 267 similar charges were taken into consideration.
Salamanes, a Filipino, had access to the company's bank accounts during his employment from April 2012 to July 2017. From April 2013 to June 2017, he issued 451 cheques worth $3.97 million, depositing most into his accounts and remitting about $3.57 million overseas.
On Tuesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Cheng Yuxi urged the court to jail him for 11 years, adding he had not made any restitution.
In mitigation, Salamanes' lawyer said her client used part of the funds to help the less fortunate, including fully funding 40 scholars at a Philippine university from 2013 to 2017.
She asked the court for a jail sentence of about nine years, adding her client had major depressive disorder.
Yesterday, District Judge Ong Luan Tze said while she sympathised, it was difficult to give weight to his plea.
"We all have problems in our lives, but that doesn't mean we go around committing crime," she said. "I do not think a lighter sentence is warranted just because you chose to give some of the money to the less fortunate... it was not your money to give."
For each count of criminal breach of trust, he could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined. For each count of falsification of accounts and each charge he faced under the CDSA, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years, or fined, or both.