Man jailed 4 years 7 months for stealing friends' credit cards, using them to cheat merchants

SINGAPORE - Three months after his release from a four-year prison term for similar offences, a man was back to his old ways.

Freddie Yap Feng Hao stole and/or took pictures of his friends' credit cards and used them to cheat merchants of around $14,000 over a three-month period.

On Tuesday (Oct 17), the 26-year-old was sentenced to four years and seven months behind bars after he admitted to 20 of 100 charges. His five victims lost between $300 and $5,500 each. No restitution has been made.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew said that some time in August 2016, Yap came to know Mr Alex Liu Beng An, 56, through Facebook.

Mr Liu subsequently invited Yap to his home for dinner. Mr Liu also invited Yap to stay at his home as the former had undergone an operation.

Mr Liu was hospitalised at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in September 2016 when Yap stole his Citibank credit card.

Yap, who had also stolen Mr Liu's United Overseas Bank (UOB), OCBC Bank and POSB credit cards, used the cards to cheat and make electronic payments for hotel stays, among others.

On Oct 2 the same year, Yap met Mr Jimmy Ng Joo Miang, 48, at Westgate mall for dinner. When Mr Ng left to go to the toilet, Yap took a picture of the victim's UOB credit card. He also took Mr Ng's OCBC Plus Visa card from his wallet and kept it without his consent.

Yap used Mr Ng's OCBC card to deceive Starbucks into delivering a $50 stored value card on Oct 7. A day later, he used it to pay for religious ritual services provided to him.

He had also used Mr Ng's UOB card to make electronic payments for limousine and Agoda hotel booking services.

In the case of Uber limousine driver Alfred Heng Kwee Poh, 43, and Mr Eric Heng Chin Guan, 53, Yap took pictures of the duo's credit cards and used them to make electronic payments.

DPP Chew said Yap was not forthcoming about the number of victims and fraudulent transactions in the course of investigations. He used the details of credit cards which he had stolen and/or taken photographs of to pay for goods and services amounting to $13,990.

In seeking a sentence of at least 60 months, DPP Chew said Yap was clearly a recalcitrant offender, and had, unfortunately, not been deterred by his long prison term in 2014.

She said the offences were committed in an opportunistic manner, and were pre-meditated, involving a breach of trust of many of his friends over an extended period of time.

District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan took 80 charges into consideration in sentencing Yap, whose sentence was backdated to Oct 15, 2016.

Yap could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for theft in dwelling. For cheating, he could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined per charge; and for cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery or property, up to 10 years' jail and a fine on each charge.