3 ex-contract staff charged with cheating after allegedly duping bank of more than $180k in loans

SINGAPORE - Three men who were working as contract staff at Citibank allegedly conspired with others to cheat the bank into giving loans totalling more than $180,000 in a ruse involving the submission of false income documents.

The trio - Kirk Chua Min Xuan, 28, Kurumoorthy Chandran, 26, and Jim Bryan Sim Jun Hong, 26 - were among nine Singaporean men who appeared in a district court on Thursday (Dec 9) to face cheating charges.

Each of the nine is alleged to have duped Citibank into delivering up to $24,795 in cash in September 2018.

The other six are: Ng Jia Hao, 25; Eugene Yap Siang, 27; Noah Loo Yu Hong, 27; Foo Jin Tai, 27; Navenkumar Ramakrishnan, 28, and Chua Hong Wei, 28. None of them was employed by Citibank at the time.

Kirk Chua was handed eight cheating charges - the most among the nine - after allegedly duping Citibank into handing over more than $127,000 in total.

Kurumoorthy faces three cheating charges after allegedly deceiving the bank into handing over a total of more than $40,000.

Sim was charged with one count of cheating involving $14,250. Each of the other six also faces a single charge of cheating.

Kirk Chua is accused of intentionally aiding a man identified as Jagatesan Pannirselvam by providing false income documents in the latter's name. Court documents do not disclose details of the documents' contents.

Jagatesan allegedly used the fake documents to dupe the bank into believing he was working for information technology firm NCS and purportedly earning a monthly basic salary of $8,500 in July and August that year.

As a result, Citibank was dishonestly induced into delivering $15,105 to Jagatesan, said court papers.

For his remaining charges, Kirk Chua allegedly worked with at least 10 other people to cheat the bank. Of the 10, only Navenkumar was charged in court with cheating on Thursday.

In one instance, Kirk Chua is accused of engaging in a conspiracy with at least three people, including a man identified as Muhammed Kamarul Ahmad Kamal, to cheat the bank.

Kamarul allegedly submitted false income documents in his name to dupe Citibank into believing he was employed by a firm called Cognizant Technology Solutions, earning $10,200 a month. As a result, Citibank is said to have delivered $24,795 to Kamarul.

Court documents do not state the source of his false income documents.

The other people allegedly linked to Kirk Chua's charges are said to have duped the bank in a similar manner.

According to court documents, the six other people charged on Thursday had allegedly engaged in conspiracies with others to cheat the bank, also by using false documents.

Foo, however, allegedly acted alone. He is accused of cheating Citibank of $12,000 after allegedly duping it into believing that he was working for NCS.

Separately, he is also accused of three unrelated offences, including one count of driving a car in Seletar at around 11pm on June 18 this year when he did not have a licence.

Each of the nine men was offered bail of between $10,000 and $20,000 on Thursday. Their cases have been adjourned to January next year.

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

In response to queries by The Straits Times, Citibank said in a statement: "The three individuals were contract staff seconded to the bank from their agency and have not been working on Citibank-related matters since 2019.

"It is not appropriate for us to comment further on a matter that's still before the courts."

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