Man used stolen credit card details to book taxi rides

A man in hand cuffs. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A man used stolen credit card details that were being circulated in a Telegram group chat to cheat Comfort Delgro of more than $500 worth of taxi rides, and Burger King of more than $200 worth of food.

Muhammad Syawal Kamis, 32, was jailed for six months and one week on Monday (7 February), after he pleaded guilty to three out of four counts of cheating, and one count of refusing to sign a police statement. One remaining count of cheating was considered for his sentencing.

Syawal, a freelance painter, was warned by District Judge Shawn Ho not to reoffend as he would be looking at more serious terms of incarceration given his long list of past criminal offenses from 2003 to 2018.

Prior to his current sentence, Syawal had been jailed six times for mostly property-related offenses, including theft, criminal breach of trust, and cheating.

On November 21, 2020, Syawal came across a Telegram group chat which circulated stolen credit card details. Syawal picked credit card details issued by a US bank to use for his Comfort Delgro taxi booking account.

Between 21 November and 23 December 2020, Syawal booked taxi rides 34 times using the stolen credit card details. He kept booking taxi trips this way until an error message popped up in the Comfort Delgro account.

On 24 February last year, a management executive at Comfort Delgro lodged a police report stating that the firm had detected 34 fraudulent transactions amounting to $562.91 on Syawal’s account.

Syawal refunded a sum of $1072.90 to Comfort Delgro on 12 October last year, inclusive of administrative fees.

In addition, Syawal used stolen credit cards details from the same Telegram group chat for his Burger King account.

Between 8 February and 2 March last year, Syawal used his Burger King account to buy food seven times, charging them to the foreign credit cards. Some of these orders were delivered to Syawal’s residence.

The food delivered to him amounted to $225.40. Syawal refunded the full sum to Burger King on October 12, 2021.

Using the illicitly obtained credit card details, Syawal also made payment to Jaguar 3R Ventures, a firm which provides moving boxes, for two carton boxes on 10 March 2021. Syawal linked the credit card details to his Shopify account for the purchases, which amounted to $28. Jaguar sent the two boxes to Syawal’s home.

Syawal returned $43.90 to Jaguar, inclusive of an administrative fee, on October 12 last year.

For his mitigation, Syawal submitted a letter which DJ Ho read out in court. Syawal stated that he was married with a two-year-old daughter, who resides in Indonesia together with his wife.

He added that he was the sole breadwinner of his family and had been struggling to make ends meet with ad-hoc jobs as the pandemic had affected his work as a house painter.

Syawal said he understood the consequences of his actions and made full restitution to all the victims. He felt upset at himself for having failed to avoid offending. He sought a sentence of below four months with “harsh fines”.

Addressing the court, an emotional Syawal pleaded for leniency to continue his life with his family.

In reply, DJ Ho said described the charges as serious. “If you carry on like this and looking at numbers of years, the offenses you committed previously, you are looking at corrective training if you carry on,” he said. Corrective training carries a minimum of five years and maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment.

DJ Ho told Syawal to stay clean so as not to miss his daughter’s growing up years.

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