Recent ICAC Cases

29
Mar 2021
Bank officer and mother admit conspiracy to defraud over payroll account opening

A bank officer and his mother who worked at a Chinese restaurant, charged by the ICAC, today (March 29) admitted at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts that they had conspired to defraud the bank of an incentive by causing co-workers of the mother to open payroll accounts with the bank.

Lam Ki-fung, 30, business development officer of Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited (Standard Chartered Bank); and Cheung Pui-kwan, 56, shop manageress of Majesty Seafood Restaurant (Majesty Seafood) and mother of Lam, pleaded guilty to a joint charge of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law.

Principal Magistrate Mr Peter Law Tak-chuen adjourned the case to April 20 for sentence, pending background, community service order and probation reports of the defendants. They were both granted bail.

The case arose from a corruption complaint. Subsequent ICAC enquiries revealed the above offence.

The court heard that at the material time, Lam was a business development officer of Standard Chartered Bank posted to a branch in Central. He was responsible for opening accounts for customers. When a customer used a newly opened account for payroll service, the payroll amount concerned would be counted as the defendant’s performance in calculating his quarterly incentive.

Lam’s mother, Cheung, was a shop manageress of the Central branch of Majesty Seafood, a Chinese restaurant. She was responsible for making payroll arrangement for frontline workers. The restaurant did not require its staff members to hold an account with a specified bank for receiving payroll.

Between April 11 and November 21, 2017, Cheung falsely represented to three co-workers who newly joined the Central branch of Majesty Seafood that they were required to open accounts with Standard Chartered Bank to receive salary. She also persuaded a waitress under her supervision and a customer of the restaurant to open accounts with Lam to boost up the latter’s performance.

After Lam opened accounts for the aforesaid five persons, Cheung transferred into each of the accounts a sum ranging from $80,000 to $200,000 between May 2 and December 15, 2017 without their authorisation. Once the monies were deposited into those accounts, sums of the same amounts were transferred back to Cheung’s account in Standard Chartered Bank.

ICAC inquiries revealed that the five transfer slips concerned were marked with Lam’s name and his Hong Kong identity card number. The five account holders had no knowledge about those transactions and had never authorised or agreed Lam or Cheung to do so.

As a result, Standard Chartered Bank was misled to include the relevant transaction amounts when calculating Lam’s quarterly incentive, and pay him an extra quarterly incentive totalling $4,520, the court was told.

Standard Chartered Bank and Majesty Seafood had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

The prosecution was today represented by ICAC officer Jeffrey Chan.

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