ATM engineer cheats bank of $13,000 with 'stuck cash' ruse

A field engineer whose job involved clearing money stuck in ATMs and cash deposit machines discovered a flaw that helped him cheat more than $13,000 from DBS Bank, a court heard.

Johnaton Choo Wei'En, 27, who was also a DBS customer, would ring the bank's call centre to falsely claim he had deposited sums of up to $5,000 into his savings account in one of its machines, and that the cash had become jammed in it.

After verifying the reports, DBS credited the money into his account. But he was found out when a DBS employee spotted a $1,200 shortfall at a Toa Payoh North machine in December 2011, where there had been a double claim of that amount being jammed.

Further checks revealed that Choo had made suspicious claims of jammed money at cash deposit machines between May and December 2011.

Choo worked for D&S Solutions, a sub-contractor which carried out maintenance work on ATMs. Along with an auxiliary officer, he was responsible for retrieving jammed cash, which they would put into an envelope and drop into a safe.

Details of the flaw that Choo found were not given in court. He no longer works for D&S and has returned the $13,060 he cheated to the bank.

Choo admitted to three counts of cheating involving $8,920. Six other charges were considered during sentencing.

District Judge Low Wee Ping agreed with the prosecutor that a jail sentence should be imposed because of the sophistication with which Choo had committed the offence, and the fact that he had inside knowledge of how he could deceive the bank.

He sentenced Choo to four months' jail on Wednesday, and allowed him to defer the sentence until Nov 6. Choo, represented by Mr Looi Teck Kheong, is considering an appeal. He could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined for each charge.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.