Man jailed for abusing CapitaStar, cheating CapitaLand of nearly $5,000 in shopping vouchers

Musadiq Abbas, 32, pleaded guilty to one of two cheating charges. (Photo: Getty)
Musadiq Abbas, 32, pleaded guilty to one of two cheating charges. (Photo: Getty)

SINGAPORE — A 32-year-old perfume promoter submitted more than a thousand forged shopping receipts to a loyalty programme over five months, a court heard.

As a result, Musadiq Abbas unlawfully got nearly $5,000 worth of CapitaLand shopping vouchers.

At the State Courts on Wednesday (6 November), the conman was jailed for one year and three months.

He pleaded guilty to one of two cheating charges, with the other considered in sentencing.

About the case

Real estate firm CapitaLand’s portfolio includes shopping malls. The company’s loyalty programme for its malls, known as CapitaStar, rewards customers by giving them 5 Star$ for every $1 spent at participating outlets.

The Star$ can be redeemed for CapitaLand vouchers, which can be used as cash at CapitaLand shopping malls. For every 5,000 Star$, shoppers can redeem a $5 CapitaVoucher. To make use of the reward programme, shoppers can apply for a free account online or via an app.

As early as March 2017, Musadiq created 18 CapitaStar accounts using the details of family members, colleagues and acquaintances. “The accused had obtained the information from a production they had been involved in sometime in 2015 when he was working as an assistant producer, as he was given copies of their identity cards which he stored on a thumbdrive,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kathy Chu.

Initially, Musadiq used real receipts as part of his scam. He would search online marketplace Carousell for sellers who put up mobile phones for sale. Musadiq would request to see the receipts for the phones, on the pretext of wanting to buy them. Once he got receipts issued by CapitaLand malls, Musadiq would upload them to the CapitaStar accounts he created in order to redeem Star$.

Over time, Musadiq found it hard to get fresh receipts from phone sellers on Carousell. He turned to forging receipts using the computer application Microsoft Paint. Musadiq would use the receipts he had previously got and scanned, but amend the details on the receipts before uploading them to get Star$.

Musadiq would redeem Star$ for CapitaVouchers every month at CapitaLand shopping malls. To do so, he would sign an authorisation form permitting someone else other than the account holder to redeem the vouchers. Musadiq would authorise himself as the person collecting the vouchers on behalf of the account holder. He would also print out and bring along a copy of the account holder’s identity card, which he had stored on his thumbdrive.

Between 8 November 2017 and 18 April last year, Musadiq submitted 1,012 forged receipts and redeemed 4,920,000 Star$ for $4,920 worth of shopping vouchers. He sold the vouchers online for cash.

Musadiq stopped his crime in May last year, when he realised that his CapitaStar account had been suspended when he was trying to redeem CapitaLand vouchers at a mall. CapitaStar’s head of operations made a police report on 8 May after finding out suspicious transactions.

Musadiq has since made full restitution to CapitaLand.

For cheating and dishonestly inducing the delivery of property, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and also fined.

Other Singapore stories:

Shanmugam holds 'civil' meeting with PMD riders, points to an individual's 'sneaky and unnecessary' conduct

Tampines woman admits hurling religious insults at neighbour, offender plans to move out

SDP's John Tan still unable to contest next General Election following High Court decision

Taxi and car collide, lodge into building near Raffles Place MRT

COMMENT: A slight commotion over a motion