IT engineer who stole over $62,000 of IMDA equipment jailed 24 months

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
Soh Jun Sheng, 22, had been tasked with providing IT support to IMDA staff when he began stealing from the statutory board. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

While on bail for trespassing onto private property to commit theft, a desktop engineer stole IT equipment worth more than $62,000 from the Info-Communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA).

Soh Jun Sheng, 22, had been tasked with providing IT support to IMDA staff when he began stealing from the statutory board. He earned around $28,000 from selling some of the items through the Carousell online marketplace platform.

The Malaysian was sentenced to 24 months’ jail on Monday (18 February) after he pleaded guilty to nine charges. These included unauthorised modification of computer material, house trespass to commit theft and criminal breach of trust by a servant.

Another 15 counts of modifying computer material without permission were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Stole cash, items from home

Soh, who is a permanent resident, entered a home in Serangoon at about 1.30am on 16 November 2017 after finding its front door unsecured.

He stole cash, an Apple laptop, a pair of earphones, a camera and a vacuum cleaner – all of which had a total value of $4,650.

Soh was traced and arrested on 30 November, and the stolen items were recovered. He was later charged for the offences.

Provided IT support at IMDA

While out on bail, he joined NCS Pte Ltd as a desktop engineer on 26 March 2018.

His job scope included providing IT support to IMDA based on job assignments given by the NCS service desk. Soh also issued and changed laptops for IMDA staff.

He was also granted access to a few secured rooms at the IMDA office, where the IT equipment were kept.

As Soh was in debt, he decided to steal items from the rooms and sell them over Carousell to pay off his debt.

Between April and June 2018, Soh stole 245 items, including 30 ThinkPad laptops, six computer monitors, six iPad tablets, 17 docking stations and 80 power adapters.

The items were worth a total of $62,232.87.

In order to sell the ThinkPad laptops, Soh had to re-format the laptops’ hard drives and install a clean copy of the operating system so that buyers would not be locked out by the laptops’ existing security system.

Soh was able to sell some of the items for $28,027 through his Carousell account. He used the bulk of his illegally earned proceeds to gamble in casinos and pay off his debts.

An IT associate from NCS found out that 10 laptops were missing and lodged a police report on 4 June 2018. Soh was arrested the same day.

All the items were recovered from the Carousell buyers, save two power adapters which buyers had sent overseas.

Accused has gambling disorder: lawyer

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Hsiao Tien told the court that Soh had previously been given 18 months’ probation in 2016 for a theft-in-dwelling offence. She asked for a sentence of at least 24 months for Soh.

Soh’s lawyer Henry Lim said that his client suffered from a gambling disorder. Soh has since realised that he has a problem, said the lawyer, adding that Soh’s parents were supportive of him.

The lawyer asked for between 20 and 22 months’ jail.

For unauthorised modification of computer material, Soh could have been jailed up to three years, fined up to $10,000 or both. For committing house-trespass to commit theft, he could have been jailed up to seven years.

For committing criminal breach of trust as a servant, Soh could have been jailed up to 15 years, and fined. 

More Singapore stories:

Singapore Prison Services files police report over Brochez’s email with data of 13 HIV-positive persons

Singapore plans cautious Budget with an eye on election