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13 more charges filed against lawyer connected to missing S$33 million who escaped to Malaysia

Ong escaped to Malaysia, where he was apprehended by Royal Malaysia Police in Kuala Lumpur on May 29 and then returned to Singapore the following day

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Lawyer Jeffrey Ong Su Aun is facing an additional thirteen charges in the case of  S$33 million which had gone missing from an escrow account managed by law firm JLC Advisors.

The lawyer went missing after one of his company’s clients, Allied Technologies (AT), complained missing funds. Ong is the managing partner of JLC Advisors.

AT filed a report with the police over an unauthorised payout from its escrow account, a transaction that Ong reportedly approved before he disappeared.

When he could not produce AT’s missing funds, Ong escaped to Malaysia, where he was apprehended by Royal Malaysia Police in Kuala Lumpur on May 29 and then returned to Singapore the following day.

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How he managed to flee to Malaysia was revealed in court on June 20, Thursday.

The lawyer apparently left the country via Tuas Checkpoint on May 13, after being questioned by AT, carrying a stolen Malaysian passport.

The passport belonged to another person close in age to the 41-year-old lawyer, said Nicholas Khoo, the Deputy Public Prosecutor on the case.

The court heard how Ong started to make arrangements with friends to leave for Malaysia after JLC Advisors demanded an accounting of clients’ funds withdrawn without proper authority. 

The only person he told about his intent to go to Malaysia was his wife, and he did not use the family car while he stayed in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur where the Malaysian police arrested him.

Charges of forgery for the purpose of cheating have now been filed against Ong, in relation to a fifth company and separate from other companies against whom he had committed offences.

A request for bail from Jennifer Sia, Ong’s lawyer, was objected to by Mr Khoo, since he argued Ong is a high flight risk.

The DPP says, “Not only did he leave jurisdiction after he was asked about missing monies, thereafter he had disposed of his handphone and he had swapped out the SIM card onto a brand new handphone. Further arrangements were made for him to stay in two locations – one in an office and another in a hotel, for which he did not pay with credit cards.”

Moreover, the DPP remarks that Ong did not surrender to the police, but “resources were used and a warrant of arrest had to be executed overseas in order to bring the accused back to Singapore.”

The prosecution dismissed his lawyer’s request for him to spend time with his son who is not yet two years old. His lawyer says he is compliant with the law since his return to the country.

However, the judge on the case agreed with the DPP concerning Mr Ong being a high flight risk, and refusing him bail.

On May 25, the State Courts had issued a warrant of arrest against the lawyer, on a holding charge of cheating involving S$6 million.

According to the CAD officer’s affidavit, if Ong were to be released on bail, there was “a real risk he may abscond.”

He added, “the scheme and extent of the fraud perpetrated by the accused is far larger and more complex than what was initially reported in the police report”.

Ong was charged on June 1 on one count of cheating involving S$6 million, and then again on June 13 another eight charges of forgery for the purpose of cheating.

All in all, he is now facing 22 charges, none of which include the missing $33 million.

Mr Ong will be back in court on July 11. He could face jail time of 10 years and be made to pay a fine for every count of cheating or forgery for the purpose of cheating./ TISG

Read related: Lawyer now incommunicado after allegedly unauthorised payout of $33 million in client’s funds
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