Former sales officer gets jail for working with syndicate to cheat Citibank of over $127,000

PHOTO: Reuters

SINGAPORE - A direct sales officer at Citibank worked with a syndicate to dupe the bank into giving over $127,000 in loans to eight applicants who had submitted items including fake income documents.

Kirk Chua Min Xuan, 29, who used to be a contract staff member with the bank, was sentenced to two years and four months’ jail on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to three counts of cheating, each involving one applicant.

These three charges were linked to nearly $55,600 in total. Five other cheating charges involving the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.

The three applicants – Muhammed Kamarul Ahmad Kamal, Mohamad Aizat Mohmad Razali and Muhammad Ferdy Selamad – were dealt with in court earlier.

They had received loans of between $15,105 and $24,795 each. After receiving the loans, they gave most of the monies to others linked to the ruse, and kept the rest.

In an earlier statement, Citibank said Chua was a contract staff member seconded to the bank from his agency. He has not been working on Citibank-related matters since 2019.

Among the three applicants, Kamarul received the most money from the bank.

In September 2018, he told a man, known only as Charles, that he needed money. Charles replied that another person, identified only as Jackson, could help Kamarul apply for a loan.

On Sept 17, 2018, Jackson contacted Kamarul, and told him to go to a Citibank branch to apply for credit cards and a loan.

When Kamarul said he did not meet the requisite income level, Jackson replied that he would be provided with the necessary income documents for the loan application.

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Jackson also said Kamarul could keep 30 per cent of the loan amount. Kamarul agreed to be part of the plan.

On or around Sept 18, 2018, Kamarul met Charles and collected a file containing documents including bogus payslips falsely stating that he was earning a monthly basic salary of $10,500.

Kamarul then went to a Citibank branch near City Hall MRT station and handed the file to Chua, who dishonestly verified the documents.

Citibank was duped into approving the loan and handed Kamarul $24,795 in cash.

According to Kamarul, he later handed the entire loan amount to Charles.

Kamarul also claimed that Charles gave him only about $2,000 to $3,000 of the loan amount and kept the remainder.

The other two applicants cheated the bank by using a similar method.

On Oct 2, 2018, a Citibank employee lodged a police report stating that it had received and approved multiple credit facility applications based on falsified income documents.

Chua was then identified as one of the direct sales officers who had helped such applicants.

He was represented by lawyers Josephus Tan and Cory Wong from Invictus Law Corporation.

Mr Wong had urged the court to sentence their client to up to 19 months’ jail, stressing that there was no evidence that Chua had received any benefits.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.