Bank exec stole credit cards for spending spree

Stephen Choo Jianwei, 32, was jailed for three years and three months yesterday.
Stephen Choo Jianwei, 32, was jailed for three years and three months yesterday.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

A senior service executive at DBS Bank kept credit cards that customers wanted cancelled, then used them to pay for drinks and the services of hostesses at nightclubs.

Stephen Choo Jianwei, 32, misappropriated cards from six customers and chalked up $82,000 in expenditure between April and November 2013.

He was jailed for three years and three months yesterday after pleading guilty to 30 out of 110 charges.

Choo was attached to the DBS branch in Great World City mall when he committed the misappropriation and cheating offences.

Customers would approach Choo to close their accounts but Deputy Public Prosecutor Tow Chew Chi said he would, instead, retrieve the cards he was supposed to shred at the end of the day. The court heard that in July 2013, a CCTV camera located behind Choo captured him surreptitiously sliding a customer's card under his computer keyboard.

Choo used the cards to pay for food, alcohol and hostesses' services. He also bought car care products, a Global Positioning System navigator and other items. He also said he had a drinking habit. He frequented Grand Oasis Nightclub KTV at The Verge in Serangoon Road, and used customers' credit cards to settle the bills of between $2,100 and $4,500 each time.

Choo also shopped at Orchard Road malls and Marina Square. The most expensive item he bought was a $3,390 Prada bag at The Shoppes@Marina Bay Sands. He paid $2,290 using his own money and the balance with a Japanese man's credit card.

Mr Tow cited aggravating factors such as planning and premeditation, loss of reputation to the bank, the large number of offences, and the amounts involved.

Choo could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined for criminal breach of trust as a servant. For cheating, he could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2015, with the headline 'Bank exec stole credit cards for spending spree'. Print Edition | Subscribe