Man jailed 8 years for credit card fraud

SINGAPORE - A man who played a pivotal role in multiple conspiracies to commit credit card fraud and other financial crimes was jailed for eight years on Friday.

Tan Wei Kwang, who is unemployed, recruited accomplices to use the credit cards to make fraudulent purchases.

The 41-year-old was no mere runner in a syndicate but effectively has his own operation, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi.

He faced a total of 304 charges involving $144,592 - none of which has been recovered - and pleaded guilty to 30 charges.

A syndicate, which Tan was part of, intercepted credit cards that had been mailed out by various banks and passed them on to Tan who then recruited three acomplices to use them.

They used the stolen cards to make purchases at places such as supermarkets and retail stores like Harvey Norman, Courts, Challenger, Isetan and Poh Heng Jewellery in 2011. One card was also used to withdraw cash.

The court heard on Friday that in late 2010, Tan approached Liew Sin Kiang, 40, and offered him the use of the credit cards.

Tan would drive Liew - who has since been jailed eight years - to various locations to use the cards and they would split the profits equally.

Some time later, Tan recruited two other accomplices, Chong Tze Peng, 46, and Ho Moey Yian, 48, for the same purpose.

In April last year, Tan made a proposal to relief cabby Neo Eng Tiong, who was in financial difficulties, to place a point-of-sales terminal in his CityCab.

Neo, 49, was told the terminal, which was not installed by the cab company, would be used to obtain card details from passengers paying their fares using their ATM cards.

Subsequently, Tan would pass Neo the cloned ATM cards of victims for him to make cash withdrawals and promised him half the proceeds.

Arguing for a stiff sentence of at least eight years, Mr Hon told District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt that Tan's crimes affected the financial system in Singapore.

He submitted that the use of cloned cards to withdraw money was a "highly egregious'' form of syndicated ATM fraud.

Tan also played a significant role in the conspiracies and had re-offended while on police bail, added the DPP. Hence, his sentence should be higher than that of his accomplices, who have been dealt with.