Britons get jail for buying jewellery with fake cards

With counterfeit credit cards, two Britons managed to buy more than $30,000 worth of jewellery from a Cartier boutique at Ngee Ann City last November.

They then went to a nearby Louis Vuitton store to buy even more luxury goods but were thwarted by an eagle-eyed staff member.

Kent University undergraduate Neelima Ahmed, 21, and retail assistant Lorenzo Giacomo Dentamaro, 20, who were working for a syndicate, were each jailed for three years and four months yesterday. They each pleaded guilty to four counts of being in possession of counterfeit credit cards, and one count each of cheating and attempted cheating.

Each had 11 other charges for similar offences taken into consideration during sentencing.

The pair became acquainted via Snapchat with a man known only as Jay, who was a member of a United Kingdom-based syndicate dealing with counterfeit credit cards. He offered them a job which involved going overseas to buy for him items using credit cards he provided. They agreed to work for him for the money.

On Nov 19 last year, they met Jay, who gave them 12 counterfeit credit cards. They then flew from Heathrow Airport in London and arrived in Singapore at around 5pm the next day.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Charis Low said their sole purpose in coming here was to make fraudulent purchases for Jay by using the counterfeit cards.

They were told to go to Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel, where Jay had pre-booked a room. Neelima paid the deposit for it using one of the counterfeit credit cards. After they checked in, Jay sent them messages containing a list of various items he wanted them to buy using the counterfeit credit cards.

At around 10.45am on Nov 21 last year, they went to the Cartier boutique in Ngee Ann City and Neelima presented three of the counterfeit cards to buy two bracelets worth $30,200 in all.

About two hours later, they went to the Louis Vuitton store at nearby Ion Orchard, where she picked out two wallets and a bag worth $7,370 in all.

Without even asking for their prices, she told a Louis Vuitton senior client adviser that she wanted to buy them. She passed him a counterfeit American Express credit card to pay for the items.

However, the client adviser felt that she was behaving suspiciously and checked its authenticity with the credit card company. When he found out it was counterfeit, he retained it and alerted the police.

DPP Low said: "Before the police arrived, (the pair) hid the remaining counterfeit credit cards in their underwear. They eventually surrendered the credit cards after questioning by the police."

For cheating, they could have each been jailed up to 10 years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'Britons get jail for buying jewellery with fake cards'. Print Edition | Subscribe