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Friday, March 1, 2024
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FORMER LAWYER CONVICTED AFTER MISAPPROPRIATING CLIENT’S FUND

Gurdaib Singh S/O Pala Singh (“Gurdaib Singh”), a 70-year-old Singapore citizen, was convicted on 19 July 2023 for misappropriating monies entrusted to him and for preparing a court document for another person as an advocate and solicitor while he was struck off the roll of advocates and solicitors of the Supreme Court. He pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal breach of trust, under Section 409 of the Penal Code read with Section 124(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, and one count of preparing a document for a proceeding in the courts of Singapore while being an unauthorised person under Section 33(1)(a)(iii) of the Legal Profession Act. He was sentenced to 47 months’ imprisonment on 25 January 2024.

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Gurdaib Singh was a lawyer practising with the firm Gurdaib Cheong & Partners. In December 2011, his client entrusted him with a sum of $138,876 in the way of his business as an attorney. Gurdaib Singh was to disburse the money only upon the client’s instructions. However, Gurdaib Singh dishonestly misappropriated the funds by using them to pay for matters unrelated to the client, such as his law firm’s office expenses and other clients’ transactions. This was done without the client’s knowledge or approval. 

In November 2014, another client entrusted a sum of $320,000 to Gurdaib Singh in the way of his business as an attorney. Similarly, Gurdaib Singh dishonestly misappropriated the funds by using them to pay for matters unrelated to the client without the client’s knowledge or approval.

Gurdaib Singh was struck off the roll of advocates and solicitors of the Supreme Court on 27 February 2018. Despite this, in October 2019, Gurdaib Singh acted as an advocate or solicitor for an individual by preparing an affidavit for the individual’s use at a court hearing. 

Offenders convicted of an offence under Section 409 of the Penal Code are liable to an imprisonment term for life, or imprisonment for a term which may extend to 20 years, and liability to a fine. Offenders convicted of an offence under Section 33(1)(a)(iii) of the Legal Profession Act are liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding $25,000, or both.

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