Man jailed 22 weeks for stealing $13k from drinking buddy

SINGAPORE - A removal man who took advantage of an acquaintance's drunken stupor to steal almost $13,000 from his bank account was jailed for 22 weeks on Monday.

After a night out drinking together, Vickneswaran Sivan, 24, took a taxi to Orchard Towers with Indian national Shakthikalu Manjappa Gopalakrishna, 34, when the latter dozed off on the way.

When they got there, Vickneswaran woke him up so he could pay for their fare and Mr Shakthikalu handed the cabby his ATM card.

Vickneswaran noted the PIN number as his drinking buddy typed it in to the terminal, then took the POSB card back from the driver without his acquaintance noticing.

When they got out, Vickneswaran began walking swiftly away from Shakthikalu then went to withdraw money from his POSB savings account at ATMs in Orchard Towers and Greenridge Shopping Centre in Bukit Panjang.

Between midnight and 4.30am on Nov 22 last year he made cash withdrawals and electronic fund transfers totalling $12,806.

Mr Shakthikalu made a police report the same day.

The court heard that Vickneswarn committed the offences as he was in financial distress and owed money to various organisations and moneylenders.

No restitution has been made.

Vickneswaran pleaded guilty to five of 15 charges of theft and computer misuse. The maximum penalty for theft is three years in jail and a fine. For computer misuse it is $5,000 and two years' jail on each charge.