SINGAPORE: Wanting to earn cash, a man called a number left on a toilet door and became one of several people embroiled in a type of loan scam that cheated DBS Bank into disbursing S$1.89 million.
Muhammad Fazly Laily, 28, was sentenced to six months’ jail on Thursday (Oct 28) for his role in the scam. He pleaded guilty to one count of acquiring property in his bank account that amounted to criminal proceeds from cheating.
The court heard that Fazly was a freelance video technician at the time of the crime, earning S$600 to S$700 between March 2019 and April 2019.
Sometime in end-March 2019, he went to a coffee shop near Aljunied MRT and went to a toilet. On the back of one of the doors was a handwritten message that said “need cash call this number”.
Fazly did not know who wrote the message nor who the handphone number etched on the door belonged to, but called the number anyway.
An unidentified man picked up the call, and Fazly asked him if he could obtain any amount of cash as a loan. When the man replied “yes”, Fazly asked if the loan would be legal or illegal, and asked the man where he worked.
The unknown man told Fazly that there would be no way that he could obtain the loan from the bank if the loan were illegal.
Fazly was thinking only about getting the cash, so he did not check for the man’s name, workplace information and how the man would help him obtain the bank loan.
Fazly told the man over the phone that he wanted to apply for a bank loan of between S$5,000 and S$10,000. He believed that he was not eligible for the loan as his salary was too low, but decided to try his luck.
The man on the phone asked Fazly for photos of his NRIC, as well as his POSB ATM PIN, credit bureau report, POSB account number and SingPass login ID and password. Fazly gave the information to him, and the man told Fazly that the application would take one to two weeks.
Fazly claimed that he lost the phone he used to call the man with, and did not call him anymore about the loan as he did not remember the number.
On Apr 11, 2019, Fazly checked his POSB Savings account and realised that he had received a S$11,400 loan from DBS as part of the DBS Cashline loan.
He realised the loan amount was higher than what he had asked the unknown man for, and believed it was impossible for the bank to have disbursed the amount to him as a loan as his low monthly salary would have rendered him ineligible.
He withdrew the entire sum and spent it on himself for things like food, massages and sexual services.
DBS LODGES POLICE REPORT
In May 2019, a DBS fraud officer lodged a police report saying there were more than 150 loan applications with DBS Cashline that were submitted in the names of various people and supported by false pay slips and income documents.
Between March 2019 and May 2019, DBS was cheated into disbursing S$1.89 million because of these fraudulent Cashline loan applications. One of the applications was submitted in Fazly’s name, and the Commercial Affairs Department began investigating the crimes.
Investigations revealed that a DBS Cashline loan application had been submitted in Fazly’s name on Apr 8, 2019, together with false supporting pay slips.
The fabricated slips claimed that Fazly earned a salary of S$4,660.50 from a company called Presico Engineering, and DBS was deceived into disbursing a loan of S$11,400 to Fazly’s bank account.
Fazly did not make any voluntary repayments of the loan. About S$300 was recovered from his POSB account, but the leftover amount of about S$11,000 remains outstanding.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stacey Anne Fernandez asked for six months’ jail, noting that Fazly had “personally enriched himself” with the entire amount that was disbursed.
He spent all the money in a short duration – the loan was disbursed on Apr 11, 2019 and he was arrested on Apr 23, 2019, she said.
Fazly is currently serving a jail term for drug offences, and asked if his new jail term could run concurrently with his current sentence. The judge told him this was not right, as the sentences are for different offences.
He will begin his six-month jail term when his current term is completed.