Man cheats phone distributor of iPhones

He hatched a plan to cheat a mobile phone distributor using ghost subscribers.

Tan Wee Kiang applied for 19 mobile phone price plans which entitled him to 19 Apple iPhones worth about $15,000, He did this using copies of people's identity cards (ICs) without their knowledge.

The phones were then sold for a profit in September 2010.

He disappeared for two years until he was caught during a gambling raid on a unit in Geylang.

Yesterday, Tan, 35, was jailed 15 months on six charges of abetment of cheating. Thirteen other similar charges were taken into consideration.

Tan was also fined $2,000 for another charge of illegal gambling.

In August 2010, Tan met a sales executive at mobile phone distributor Gold Card, whose job was to telemarket mobile and broadband subscriptions to corporate customers.

The executive asked Tan to refer potential subscribers to him.

Tan called the sales executive, telling him that his friend wanted to sign up and asked for blank application forms from him, which the executive gave.

Tan and an accomplice called Ah Roy obtained photocopies of ICs belonging to nine other people and used them to apply for new phone lines.

It is not stated in court documents how they got the copies of these ICs.

The initial fee, which ranged between $60 to $480 depending on the mobile phone price plan, were paid for by Tan.

After the applications, submitted by Tan through the sales executive, were approved by M1, the phones, all of which were 16GB or 32GB Apple iPhone 4s, were sent by the telco to three addresses.

These addresses are that of the homes of Tan and his grandmother and the distributor's office.

All the phones eventually reached Tan and were re-sold at a higher price.

The phones were worth around $800 at the time. Court documents do not say whether Tan or Ah Roy sold phones, but they say Tan was paid $100 for each transaction as commission.

By September 2010, 19 phones had been sold.

In October, the sales manager at Gold Card received an e-mail from M1 saying there were complaints from people saying they had not subscribed for the lines.

The manager found that it was the sales executive who processed the fraudulent applications and made a police report against him.

The New Paper understands that the sales executive had been charged and that court proceedings are underway.

Tan was arrested in March 2012 at an illegal gambling den in Geylang during a police raid.

In court yesterday, Tan's lawyer said he was not the mastermind of the plan and only received $100 each time for his role.

Tan said in mitigation that he was remorseful for his actions and asked for permission to have one last meal with his family, which District Judge Soh Tze Bian granted.

Four of Tan's family members were present in court and they declined to be interviewed.

For each charge of cheating, Tan could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined.


This article was first published on May 28, 2014.
Get The New Paper for more stories.