Batam pastor jailed for conspiring to use fake $10,000 note in S'pore

The man had the note changed into smaller denominations.
The man had the note changed into smaller denominations.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Despite having reason to believe that a $10,000 Singapore note in his possession was fake, an Indonesian man still went ahead to have it changed into smaller denominations.

Jusuf Nababan, 49, got another man to deposit the note at a bank and later received $7,500 from him.

Nababan, who the court heard is a pastor of a church in Batam, Indonesia, was sentenced on Friday (Feb 19) to jail for four years and two months. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with another individual to use a counterfeit note as genuine.

In October 2019, Nababan asked Yolanda, an Indonesian, for help in finding a Singaporean to change the fake note to smaller denominations.

He told the 47-year-old woman, who was in a relationship with him then, that he would reward the Singaporean with a "commission".

Yolanda subsequently contacted Saw Eng Kiat, 62, who agreed to help.

The trio met on Oct 11, 2019, where Nababan passed the fake note to Saw.

Court documents state that Saw was suspicious about the note, as it was handed over to him casually despite its supposed high value.

But he decided to help Nababan in return for the "commission" promised, as he was facing financial problems at that time.

Saw then asked about the value of the note at two antique shops, and was told it was worthless.

He told Nababan and Yolanda that the shops did not accept the note, and suggested they try changing it at a bank instead.

The trio later went to the shopping mall in Harbourfront Centre, where Saw presented the note to a teller at the DBS branch there.

Court documents state that the teller was unaware that the counting machine she placed the note in was not equipped with a counterfeit note detector.

Accepting the note, she then deposited $10,000 into Saw's bank account.

The three individuals later split the money, with Saw keeping $1,500.

Nababan received $7,500 in cash, while Yolanda was given the remaining amount.

Court documents state that Nababan used the money for gambling at a casino.

The offence came to light after a DBS staff member made a police report on Oct 17, 2019.

For his involvement in the incident, Saw was jailed for four years and two months in March last year.

The Straits Times understands that no further action was taken against Yolanda.

Nababan's sentence has been backdated to Nov 9, 2019, when he was remanded.

For his offence, he could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined.