Woman jailed after making 1,011 unauthorised ez-link top-ups totalling over $41,000

SINGAPORE - A part-time supermarket cashier copied the bank card details of 34 customers into a notebook and used the information to make 1,011 unauthorised ez-link top-up transactions totalling $41,330.

Kas Qiu Caiying then travelled to a number of MRT stations to seek cash refunds from the more than 500 ez-link cards she had used to store the monies.

The 30-year-old Singaporean was sentenced on Tuesday (July 21) to eight months' jail after pleading guilty to 11 charges under the Computer Misuse Act involving more than $28,000.

Twenty-four other similar charges linked to the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ben Mathias Tan said that Qiu was employed by the supermarket in Woodlands Avenue 1 between January and August 2018.

She was also holding a full-time job from April that year as an operations executive at the government-run Selarang Halfway House, which provides aftercare support to selected former offenders.

The Straits Times understands that she is no longer working at the facility.

Sometime in August 2018, she obtained the NRIC number and name of one of its residents from a computer terminal and used the details to create an ez-link mobile application user account on her mobile phone.

The resident was not aware that Qiu had used his particulars to create the account, the court heard.

The DPP added: "The accused then keyed in the credit and debit card details that she had obtained into the ez-link account in order to top up various ez-link cards with amounts ranging from $10 to $100.

"The accused performed the top-ups by placing the said ez-link cards against (her mobile phone) which had a 'near field communication' function."

Qiu made the top-up transactions from August to December 2018 before obtaining cash refunds from the cards.

A bank operations clerk alerted the police on Dec 11, 2018, saying the bank had received multiple reports from its credit and debit card holders on unauthorised transactions made to an ez-link application.

Officers later arrested Qiu, who made a partial restitution of $9,132 on March 5 this year.

She has since consented for more than $30,000 in her bank account to be applied towards restitution.

Her lawyers Josephus Tan and Cory Wong from Invictus Law Corporation said Qiu finally felt relieved after her arrest.

"She shared that it was all going to be over, that she no longer needed to be held ransom to the monies which only ever gave her a false sense of relief but at the same time plunged her deeper down this slippery slope," said the lawyers.

For each charge under the Act, a first-time offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $10,000.

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