After his company refused to help him with a loan, Rajagopal Tashnamurthi decided to steal from it.
What he took, however, was worth far more than the $30,000 he needed to pay back loan sharks.
He came up with an elaborate plan to steal an entire cargo container of integrated circuits worth $4.4 million.
The 56-year-old, who was yesterday given 30 months' jail for theft, originally ended up with the $30,000 debt after being forced to go to loan sharks to pay his friends for losing their winning 4D ticket.
The then traffic controller with MES Logistics tried to take a loan from his employer. Its rejection made him unhappy. On Jan 29, his colleague prepared the container movement list for deliveries on Feb 3. Among them was a cargo container of integrated circuits destined for Texas Instruments.
Rajagopal asked Mr Vinoth Rajendran, an acquaintance, if he could provide transportation services involving 24-footer lorries with tailgates. He promised to recommend Mr Vinoth as MES' permanent transport contractor.
Rajagopal arranged with Mr Vinoth to transport the goods to a temporary warehouse, claiming MES could not cope with its orders.
Mr Vinoth asked his friend, Mr Vijayan Thayanathan, to help as the latter's uncle had a warehouse space in Mandai Estate. Rajagopal met both men on Feb 1 to discuss the job. He also told an MES driver to collect the cargo container from Tanjong Pagar Port and park it in Changi North Crescent.
The integrated circuits were transported by another logistics company to Mandai Estate where Mr Vinoth and his friend were waiting. The pair loaded the goods into their lorry. Two days later, the theft was reported to the police.
Rajagopal fled the country and was arrested on May 13 when he flew back. He was also fined $50,000, or two months' jail in lieu, for concealing goods at the Mandai Estate warehouse.