Taxi passenger jailed for three years after paying fare with fake $50 bill

SINGAPORE - A taxi passenger thought he had managed to get a free ride when he used a counterfeit $50 bill to pay for his cab ride.

But 35-year-old Sanjeev Jayakumar was tracked down by police and is now counting the cost of his actions.

The safety coordinating officer was jailed for three years on Monday (April 2) after pleading guilty to using a bogus note to pay $10.80 to a taxi driver.

A similar charge involving a taxi fare of $11.70 was considered during sentencing.

The Singaporean had been given at least two fake $50 bills by another man.

He boarded Mr Tan Siak Kwang's taxi near Marsiling MRT station on Nov 14, 2016, and asked the driver to take him to Sembawang Drive.

When they reached their destination, Sanjeev gave Mr Tan, 71, a counterfeit note and 80 cents in coins and the cabby gave him four genuine $10 notes in change.

Sanjeev's offence came to light a week later when the older man tried to deposit money at a United Overseas Bank (UOB) cash deposit machine in Woodlands Civic Centre.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lim said the machine rejected the note and a bank officer confirmed the note was counterfeit.

UOB and Mr Tan reported the matter to police, who managed to trace Sanjeev.

DPP Lim, who urged District Judge Marvin Bay to jail Sanjeev for three years, said that the Commercial Affairs Department has not uncovered any links between Sanjeev and any syndicate.

Pleading for the lowest possible sentence, his lawyer, Mr Rajan Supramaniam, said that the counterfeit notes had been handed to his client who was aware that they were not genuine.

However, the lawyer did not reveal any further information as to how Sanjeev got to know the person who had given them to him.

For each count of using the fake money to spend, he could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined.