Stefanie Yuen Thio was quoted in a follow up story on Allied Technologies’ S$33 million in funds gone missing from an escrow account managed by JLC Advisors, with the latter’s managing partner Jeffrey Ong now uncontactable. The article, published in the 3-9 June 2019 edition of The Edge, probes Allied Technologies’ past acquisitions and how they relate to the funds held by JLC Advisors.
Stefanie Yuen Thio said that Allied Technologies has the right to demand payment from JLC, given that the money was placed in escrow with the law firm. “If the money has disappeared, then the question is whether the firm’s insurance covers this loss. Typically, professional indemnity insurance does not cover fraud and it may not be possible for the firm to claim it under the firm’s insurance,” she said.
As for shareholders, she noted that there is still too little public information for now that Allied Technologies’ minority shareholders can use to decide on what they can do next.
She highlighted that there has not been a major misappropriation of client’s funds by a lawyer in 12 years. She took this as a sign that the current rules are working. The last incident involving conveyancing monies in 2011 appears to have been largely address, she said, and is not related to this case.
“There are also other Solicitors’ Accounts rules in place that govern the holding of clients’ monies that are not conveyancing funds. Such monies must be kept in a separate bank account and cheques of more than $5,000 must be signed by two solicitors. But no matter how stringent your safeguards, nothing is foolproof against fraud or deliberate dishonesty,” she said. “In this instance it would be good to understand why the monies had to be deposited with the law firm and why this law firm was chosen, given the potential conflict of interest with directors on the board of the firm itself.”
The story may be found here: https://www.theedgesingapore.com/print-edition/allied-technologies-missing-funds-turn-spotlight-past-acquisitions