Man used stolen credit card details from Telegram on taxi rides and Burger King, gets jail

SINGAPORE: A man accessed a Telegram group chat that was circulating stolen credit card details and used them to make hundreds of dollars worth of taxi bookings and Burger King orders.

Serial offender Muhammad Syawal Kamis, 32, was sentenced to six months and one week’s jail on Monday (Feb 7).

He pleaded guilty to three charges of cheating, with another two charges taken into consideration.

The court heard that Syawal came across a Telegram group chat sometime before Nov 21, 2020, where stolen credit card details were being circulated.

He found one set of details issued by the Bank of Oklahoma, and decided to use the information. He added the credit card details to his ComfortDelGro taxi booking account.

Between Nov 21, 2020 and Dec 23, 2020, Syawal booked taxi rides on 34 occasions and charged them to the credit card. He continued to book taxi trips until an error message popped up in his account.

The taxi company detected the fraudulent transactions amounting to S$562.91 and filed a police report in February 2021.

Weeks before this, Syawal linked stolen credit card details he retrieved from the Telegram chat group to his Burger King account. Between Feb 8, 2021 and Mar 2, 2021, he used the details to purchase food from the fast food restaurant on seven occasions using multiple foreign credit cards.

An accountant working for Burger King Singapore filed a police report in early March 2021, saying the company had detected fraudulent transactions amounting to S$225.40.

Syawal also used the stolen credit card details to buy two carton boxes worth S$28 from a company called Jaguar 3R Ventures in March 2021.

The prosecutor asked for the sentence that was eventually meted out, noting that Syawal had made full restitution.

However, Syawal has a long list of past convictions dating from 2003, when he received probation for criminal breach of trust. Over the years, he has received sentences ranging from reformative training to jail for crimes like theft and criminal breach of trust.

His last jail term was given to him in November 2018 for offenses of cheating.

In mitigation, Syawal asked for a shorter jail term, saying he has a daughter and wife living in Indonesia. He said he is the sole breadwinner, working as a house painter, but his business was affected due to the pandemic.

He had to find ad hoc jobs to get by, and said he had cooperated with the police.

“At the very moment I was apprehended, I felt so upset … and feeling remorse that this happened to me again. I’m upset that I (did not) avoid committing crime,” he said.

Appearing emotional, Syawal said he understood he had related past convictions, but said he was “actually turning over a new leaf”.

“I know my freedom is very difficult for me to achieve, I would continue from where I’ve started, where I’ve been with my wife and my daughter. Please give me a (lenient) punishment this time,” he said.

The judge told Syawal that the charges against him were fairly serious, but said while Syawal had made full restitution, he has a long line of past convictions.

“For this particular sentence, jail is mandatory. But if you carry on like this, and looking at the number of years … you are looking at corrective training in future if you carry on this path,” said District Judge Shawn Ho.

“I say this for your own good – corrective training, minimum it’s five years, maximum 14 years. And there are more serious things like preventive detention thereafter.”

He advised Syawal not to miss his two-year-old daughter’s growing up years, and Syawal thanked him for his “words and reminder”.

Judge Ho allowed him to defer his sentence to Feb 28.

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