Jail, caning for ez-link scam, drug use

SINGAPORE - A bartender who used customers' credit card details to line his own pockets was sentenced to seven years in jail and caning yesterday after admitting to a raft of drug and computer misuse charges.

Mohamed Sufian Mohamed Sabri, 41, got the minimum sentence of five years and three strokes after admitting to taking morphine - an offence he had been jailed for twice before in 2003 and 2004.

The rest of his sentence was for a scam which saw him and an alleged accomplice rake in more than $12,000 by taking advantage of Sufian's customers at Kazbar@Cuppage - a Middle Eastern restaurant at the Cuppage Terrace nightspot.

Mohamed Faisal Zhairudin, 35, asked Sufian to get their credit card details and paid him $30 for each set provided. Between February and March 2010, he got him 28 sets.

Faisal, who has been arrested but has yet to be dealt with, allegedly bought ez-link cards and a smartcard reader which could read them.

Using the ez-link website and the credit card details, he would top up the ez-link cards before taking them to ez-link counters where he would get cash refunds of $50 - the maximum amount before personal particulars must be given.

The two men shared $12,160 from the scam - none of which was recovered.

Sufian was arrested when police raided Kazbar on March 19 that year after complaints from customers. He was released on police bail before being nabbed for drug-related charges in August last year.

In total, he faced 272 charges and last week, he pleaded guilty to 23 counts of computer misuse and the two drug charges of possession and consumption.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo told the court that Faisal had suggested the credit card idea to Sufian after rejecting his request for a loan in February 2010. He said the two men were not authorised to gain access to the ez-online portal to carry out the transactions. He told the court that this was a more egregious type of credit card fraud which involved a great deal of planning and was hard to detect.

Mr Khoo said Sufian breached his position of trust as a bartender, adding: "Customers had legitimate expectations that their personal financial details would not be duplicated and transmitted to another person in order for fraud to be committed."

Sufian's sentence was backdated to last August. He has previous convictions for cheating, giving false information, drug consumption and trafficking.


This article was first published on Aug 9, 2014.
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