Indian-origin banker gets 13 years in jail for forgery in Singapore
An Indian-origin private banker was sentenced to 13 years in jail on Thursday in Singapore, after he pleaded guilty to 20 forgery and cheating charges and another 30 charges under the Computer Misuse Act for USD 10 million.
Another 503 similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing of Kale Jagdish Purushottam, who had siphoned USD 10 million from accounts of Barclays Bank clients between June 2010 and January 2013, reported The Straits Times.
In an attempt to pay back his former clients, Kale, 43, forged signatures to siphon off USD 10 million from his present clients.
He then made more unauthorised transactions to recover and replace the sum but ended up with extra losses of at least US$10 million instead.
Prior to joining the British bank in February 2010, Kale worked for UBS Singapore where he was the relationship manager for a company called Red Oak, which alleged that Kale had engaged in unauthorised foreign exchange transactions using the money in its account.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jean Ting said Kale agreed to pay Red Oak USD 14 million to avoid a legal case.
However, Kale paid the firm with money from his Barclays clients’ bank accounts.
Ting told the court that Kale passed off the forged documents by copying and pasting the genuine signatures of authorised signatories into his own computer file.
To cover up the shortfall in the bank accounts of his three clients, he forged more documents to move money between his other client accounts.
He made about 81 unauthorised fund transfers in this manner.
Kale also forged documents to create accounts in his clients’ names that would allow him to take up loans. These loan sums were then transferred to Red Oak or used to cover up the other unauthorised fund transfers, said the deputy public prosecutor.
He raised 162 loans in the accounts maintained by six of his clients, according to the Singapore daily’s report.
To cover up the loss of his clients’, Kale tried to make money through unauthorised stock and foreign exchange transactions using his clients’ accounts, she added.
“However, the unauthorised trades and other transactions caused further net losses of at least USD 10 million to Barclays,” said DPP Ng.
On February 1, 2013, the Commercial Affairs Department received information that Kale might have forged his clients’ signatures. He was also sacked in the same month.
Defence Counsel Anand Nalachandran told the court that Kale had not made the transfers or trades for personal financial benefit, but to satisfy what he thought was an obligation.
“Having just moved to Barclays, he was faced with allegations (from Red Oak), and instead of heeding advice, he rather rashly acted and then did these things to satisfy his obligation,” said Anand.
However, District Judge Ong Hian Sun pointed out that there was a “grave breach of trust” on Kale’s end.
According to court documents, Barclays managed to recover US 4 million after a settlement with Red Oak and Kale made restitution of USD 400,000 to the bank.
For each count of forgery for the purpose of cheating, Kale could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.