Canadian jailed 36 weeks, fined $2,000 for theft from ATMs

A Canadian tourist who stole money from automated teller machines using cloned cards in Singapore was jailed for 36 weeks and fined $2,000 on Tuesday.

Boris Kovac, 33, pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiring with others to steal from ATMs, and one charge of bringing in local and foreign currencies totalling $39,257 which was more than the prescribed amount of $30,000 without giving a report to an authorised officer at Changi Airport last November.

He withdrew $1,000 in the possession of the United Overseas Bank each time from OCBC ATMs at Paya Lebar Road and Orchard Road. Ten other charges were taken into consideration.

A district court heard that Kovac's role in the conspiracy was that of the end-user, that is, he makes the unauthorised withdrawals using the cloned ATM cards.

He travelled extensively to carry out his role in the conspiracy. He communicated with the unknown foreign persons using the voice-over-IP and instant message.

He arrived here on Nov 8 and used the cloned ATM cards to make the withdrawals.

The court heard that he struck in the wee hours of the night and wore a baseball cap to avoid detection. He would make multiple withdrawals at each ATM and would only stop when he could no longer make further withdrawals.

Following complaints by two UOB customers who reported unauthorised transactions from their accounts, police arrested Kovac at Summer View Hotel in Bencoolen Street on Nov 14.

The total amount involved is $6,800.