Ex-Amex employee fined for e-mailing client data to himself

SINGAPORE - A corporate sales manager with American Express e-mailed almost 800 confidential files from his company laptop to his personal e-mail account before he resigned to join a rival bank.

Permanent resident Ricky Suparman, 27, had intended to use the data in his new job, but was found out when his supervisor checked his e-mail account.

He was fined $24,000 yesterday after pleading guilty to eight charges of computer misuse.

The Indonesian had been working for American Express International when he was offered a job at United Overseas Bank (UOB) as a business financial manager.

Amex company policy dictates that when employees quit to join a competitor, they must leave on the day of their resignation. Its staff also sign contracts which safeguard confidential information about their customers.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tang Shangjun said Suparman tendered his resignation on Feb 27, 2012. He told supervisor Belinda Ann Koh Yew Cheng that he would be joining a rival bank.

While Ms Koh was reviewing his e-mail account to reassign Suparman's clients to other team members, she found the e-mail he had sent which contained attachments of confidential client information belonging to Amex.

He was immediately placed on gardening leave for a month and asked to leave the premises.

Mr Tang said the files Suparman gained unauthorised access to were of a "highly sensitive" nature, such as the amounts charged by clients to their cards, personal particulars of customers and confidential financial documents.

Most of the company accounts he managed at Amex related to those with annual revenues of up to $20 million.

District Judge Low Wee Ping said most of the files pertained to financial records of individuals or companies that, if misused, would have caused "considerable harm" to the clients. He said he would have considered a short jail term if the prosecution had requested it.

Suparman could have been fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to two years on each charge. He joined UOB in March 2012, in a job which involved selling loans and trade services to small and medium-sized enterprises.

He left in July last year and is now a market researcher.


This article was published on April 15 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.