An Indian-origin lawyer, working at a law firm in Singapore, has been sentenced up to 2 years and three months in prison. He has been charged for collecting legal fees of more than SGD 31,000 from his company’s clients. Then, he transferred the money to his personal bank account.
Zaminder Singh Gill, 57, who was a legal associate at Hilborne Law between 2016 and last year, also failed to register the clients with the firm. He transferred the money to his personal bank account and used his ill-gotten gains for family expenses, the Straits Times reported.
He was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty to five counts of criminal breach of trust as an attorney involving more than SGD 20,000. These charges were linked to five victims. Ten other similar charges involving the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.
The Hilborne representative said the clients “were not recorded in Hilborne’s client register, and the amount collected was not deposited into Hilborne’s client or office accounts”.
Defense lawyer R Shiever pleaded for judicial mercy and said he was full of regret. Gill cried as he addressed the court and said that he had lost everything, the report said.
Gill was arrested when he returned to Singapore in October 2019 after the holidays with his family. He later said he had used the legal fees he misappropriated on various family expenses, the report said.
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Toh said that such offenses could undermine public confidence in the legal profession. For each count of criminal breach of trust as an attorney, an offender can either be jailed for life or jailed for up to 20 years and fined.