Worker jailed for stealing computer chips

Worker jailed for stealing computer chips

SINGAPORE - A worker who stole computer chips worth almost $74,000 from his then employer to raise money for his father's medical bills was sentenced to 21 months in jail yesterday.

Materials handler Gobinath Govindasamy, 34, pleaded guilty to taking more than 48,000 integrated circuit chips from United Test & Assembly Centre on March 21, none of which was recovered.

He received half of the $30,816 in proceeds generated from selling the loot, but has not made any restitution to the firm.

The court heard that Gobinath, whose father had been treated for diabetes, enlisted the help of cleaner Sebastin Baskar to take the chips, worth US$58,000 (S$73,900), out of the firm's premises.

That evening he repacked the chips and passed them to Sebastin, who hid them in a cleaner's trolley and pushed it towards a rubbish compactor outside, where Gobinath was waiting with his car.

Sebastin loaded the chips into the car, which Gobinath drove to Johor Baru after his shift.

There, Gobinath handed them to another man, Muhamad Sabani Amir, 31, who allegedly got three others to help sell the chips.

Sebastin, a 25-year-old Indian national, did not receive the $5,778 cut he was promised.

He pleaded guilty to the theft and was sentenced to 18 months in jail last month, while Muhamad Sabani's case is still pending.

The three other accomplices are still at large.

Gobinath's lawyer pointed out, among other things, that his client was a low-level employee and had initially been hesitant to commit the theft, which Muhamad Sabani allegedly suggested.

Gobinath could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for stealing his employer's property.

This article was first published on October 18, 2014.
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