SINGAPORE — A SingPost staff who caused her employer to lose nearly $40,000 via unauthorised transactions she made was on Tuesday (22 October) jailed for nine months.
Zalinah Mohamed Kadir, 41, pleaded guilty to one charge of unauthorised access to computer material. She made a total of 14 unauthorised transactions on 25 March, depositing cash into her bank account.
Zalinah worked for SingPost for about seven years. At the time of the offence, she was a postal officer at SingPost’s Geylang Branch at 447 Geylang Road.
On 25 March, Zalinah performed counter duty, which required her to collect bill payments, attend to queries regarding parcel matters and help customers who want to make deposits into their bank accounts via a NETS terminal machine.
For customers who want to make deposits, Zalinah was supposed to count their cash, enter the amount into the NETS terminal machine, swipe the customer’s ATM card into the terminal and request for the customer to key in his PIN number for the deposit to be processed.
Once the transaction was cleared by the bank, Zalinah was supposed to deposit the cash into the till. The cash would be tallied at the end of the work day against the deposit transactions to ensure there is no shortfall. The money would then be credited by SingPost to the banks.
Between noon and 5pm on 25 March, Zalinah inserted her own ATM card and keyed in her PIN number for cash amounting to $39,820 to be deposited into her bank account over 14 occasions. The amounts she transferred ranged between $520 and $5,000.
At the end of the work day, she had a corresponding shortfall that she was unable to account for. She told her branch manager that the money would be available by the end of the day.
But she later admitted that she had made the unauthorised transactions into her bank account in the hopes of getting a loan from a loanshark. She had previously taken loans from the loanshark and wanted to borrow $15,000 from him. But he asked that she give him a non-refundable insurance fee of $2,520 first.
However, after she made the unauthorised transactions and transferred the loanshark the money, she didn’t receive her loan and had to come clean to her manager about her crimes. The manager reported the matter to the police.
SingPost paid the shortfall owed to the banks. Zalinah has since made restitution of $400.
She is out on bail of $15,000 and will start her sentence on 5 November.
For her offence under the Computer Misuse Act, she could have been fined up to $5,000 and also jailed for up to two years.
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