Man jailed five years for counterfeit currency offences; used fake $50 to buy drinks at convenience store

Uthya Kumaran Thangaiyan has been sentenced to five years' jail for forging $50 bills, possessing and using them, as well as having instruments and materials to make the fake notes.
Uthya Kumaran Thangaiyan has been sentenced to five years' jail for forging $50 bills, possessing and using them, as well as having instruments and materials to make the fake notes. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A man has been sentenced to five years' jail for forging $50 bills, possessing and using them, as well as having instruments and materials to make the fake notes.

Uthya Kumaran Thangaiyan, 53, pleaded guilty on Monday (March 20) to five of 10 charges - two of forgery, one each of using the fake $50 note to pay for beverages amounting to $1.80, having 20 counterfeit currency notes, and having instruments and materials to produce them.

In total, he forged 24 $50 bills at his home at Block 651, Hougang Avenue 8, and used them four times at Cheers and McDonald's at Hougang Street 91.

The court heard that sometime in May last year, he bought a Canon colour printer with the intention of photocopying $50 notes, which he planned to exchange at fast food and convenience stores.

He photocopied the front and back of a $50 note on A4 paper using a colour printer and then cut it down to size. He used silver nail polish to paint the kinegram on the front of the note, and a silver enamel pen to mark out the vertical security thread on the back of the note.

He also used highlighters, water colour pens and colour pencils to brighten the colours and enhance the images of the note to make it look real.

Sometime in May last year, after he had forged the notes, he went to Cheers on May 25 and used the fake note to pay $1.80 for two drinks. He received the change from the cashier, who only discovered the fake note the next day.

She reported it to the police and Uthya Kumaran was arrested. He was found to have 20 pieces of fake $50 notes.

Police searched his home and found the Canon printer copier, a stack of A4 paper and other items used to produce the fake bills.

He has made restitution of $50 to Cheers.

Uthya Kumaran, who deferred sentence until April 17, could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined on each of the charges, except possession of forged currency which carries a jail term of up to 15 years.