What does criminal breach of trust refer to?
To many laypersons, the phrase ‘criminal breach of trust’ may come across complex and daunting. Spanning years of expertise and experience, let us help you understand what it means and what you need to look out for.
Criminal breach of trust in Singapore comprises several elements, covering a range of activities to do with funds or property. The basic elements include entrustment or dominion over the funds or property in question, misappropriation and dishonesty.
Essentially, a criminal breach of trust is committed when an individual misappropriates or converts property or funds he has dominion over for his own benefit. The City Harvest Church corruption incident is an example of criminal breach of trust.
When is a criminal breach of trust considered an offence in Singapore?
For a criminal breach of trust to be committed in the first place requires an entrustment of sorts. The individual must have supervisory control or management over the property or assets. Examples of entrustment include receipt of funds from someone else for investment on his behalf and those in charge of managing signed cheques.
There needs to be some element of dishonesty for criminal breach of trust to be considered committed. Dishonesty implies intention. The individual in question must have knowingly committed the act, to cause a loss or gain personal benefits.
Following that, the individual must have converted these assets for his own benefit. In other words, managing or using someone else’s property as if it were your own. For instance, using the earnings of your company to gamble or selling off entrusted items to earn money for yourself.
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