SINGAPORE - A man who claimed to police that $250,000 in cash had been stolen from the glove box of his car, then later admitted he had gambled it away was fined $5,000 on Tuesday (Oct 13).
Muhammad Aslam, 40, a Pakistani and Singapore permanent resident, pleaded guilty to providing false information to police for which he was fined the maximum amount.
Two other charges were taken into consideration.
On July 21 at about 3.30pm, Aslam reported that the cash was missing from his car, which he parked at Block 227 Tampines Street 23 earlier that day at about 1am. He added that he suspected painters who were working nearby.
The accused, who is self-employed, later told officers that his car had been covered by a canvas sheet for protection as painting works were being carried out in the vicinity.
He discovered that the driver's side window had been smashed when he returned to his car at about 2pm. Police seized the canvas sheet and a small rock found on the ground.
The next day at about 1.30pm, Aslam arrived at Bedok Police Division for a further interview, where he maintained his cash had been stolen. However, when he was interviewed again later that day at about 7pm, he admitted lodging a false police report.
The court heard that he felt stressed about his divorce three years earlier and that he had resorted to gambling at the Marina Bay Sands casino.
Over a period of four days in July, the accused gambled about $250,000 of his personal savings and earnings from his business. At a loss of how to account for the huge monetary loss to his family and suppliers, he then decided to make the false report.
Further investigations revealed that the accused had driven his vehicle to the vicinity of Tampines Avenue 1, where he used a metal hook to smash the driver's side window about two to three times to give the impression of forced entry of his vehicle.
Noting that it took less than 24 hours for Aslam to admit that he had made a false report, deputy public prosecutor Sean Lee did not press for a jail term but asked the court for a high fine of at least $4,000.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Johan Ismail added that his client's actions were a result of the "sheer embarrassment" he felt to his family.
However, the judge said that Aslam's "foolishness" had cause extensive police resources to be wasted.
Anyone convicted of providing false information to a public servant may face a jail term of up to a year, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.