SINGAPORE — After discovering stolen credit card details circulating in a Telegram chat group, Muhammad Syawal Kamis used the information to take several taxi rides without paying for them out of his own pocket.
The 32-year-old also used more stolen card details to place multiple orders from fast food chain Burger King and buy empty cartons from a retailer.
For his crimes, the Singaporean was sentenced to six months and a week in prison on Monday February 7.
He pleaded guilty to three charges of cheating, and two more – including refusing to sign a police statement – were considered for sentencing.
It was far from Syawal’s first encounter with the law, the court heard. His criminal history dates back to 2003 when he was put on probation for criminal breach of trust, before being sentenced to rehab training for robbery.
He was also imprisoned six times for cheating or property-related offences.
More recently, he had discovered the details of a stolen credit card issued by Bank of Oklahoma in the United States around November 2020. He added the details to his ComfortDelGro taxi booking account.
He charged 34 rides worth S$562.91 to the credit card between November 21 and December 23, 2020, until an error message appeared on his account.
He has since returned S$1,072, including administrative costs, to the taxi company.
Separately, he used the stolen details of several foreign credit cards to place food orders. He did this by similarly linking the cards to his Burger King account and delivering some of the orders to his residential address.
As a result, Burger King delivered food to him worth S$225. He has since made restitution to the channel.
Then, in March 2021, Syawal linked other stolen credit cards from the same Telegram chat group to his Shopify account. He proceeded to pay S$28 to Jaguar 3R Ventures for two empty boxes.
Deputy Attorney General Joseph Gwee, who requested the sentence imposed, noted Syawal’s prior crime streak. He was jailed twice in 2018 for cheating offenses involving S$220 and S$110 respectively.
Syawal, who cried repeatedly in court, said through an interpreter that he was currently married in Indonesia with a two-year-old daughter. He also promised not to do it again in Singapore.
District Judge Shawn Ho expressed concern for Syawal, saying he could be sentenced to remedial training in the future if he breaks the law again.
Remedial training is a harsher form of imprisonment lasting a minimum of five years, with offenders unlikely to be granted early release for factors such as good behavior.
Those found guilty of cheating can be imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined.