SINGAPORE - Unable to cope with her mounting debts, a sales executive printed counterfeit $100 notes at home and then used them to pay for low value items at several shops so that she could get real change, a court heard.
On Tuesday (June 21), Rajeshwari Rajabose, 36, a Malaysian, was jailed for three years after she pleaded guilty to two out of 11 charges of using counterfeit money. The remaining counts were considered in sentencing.
A district court heard that Rajeshwari faced financial woes supporting her family in Johor Baru and started taking loans from licensed moneylenders in Singapore in August last year.
As her debt mounted, she decided to print counterfeit $100 notes and spend them on cheap items to get real cash in return.
She downloaded an image of a $100 note from the Internet in November last year and printed several copies of the note using a colour printer at her Johor Baru home.
Over a four day period, between Nov 4 and 7, she used 11 of the notes at fast food outlets and convenience stores here.
Rajeshwari targeted stores which were crowded, so it would be less likely for staff to notice the fakes or remember her, the court heard. She used the change to repay her debts.
But the shops called the cops when they realised they had been tricked.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Haniza Abnass and Lynn Tan asked for four to five years' jail for each of the two charges, while defence lawyer Sadhana Rai asked for two years' jail.
District Judge Crystal Ong noted, among other things, that Rajeshwari's scam was not fully sophisticated and that she had made full restitution.
The judge sentenced her to three years' jail for each of the two charges, to run concurrently. The sentence was backdated to her date of remand on Nov 26.
The maximum punishment for selling, buying, trafficking or using a forged or counterfeit currency or bank note is 20 years' jail and a fine.
Separately, in a media release relating to the arrest of a 52-year-old for printing $50 notes last month, the police urged anyone who spots a fake note to call them immediately.
Information on the security features of genuine Singapore currency is available on the Monetary Authority of Singapore's website.