Moneychanger staff jailed 3.5 years for absconding with nearly half a million dollars

Bahurudeen Kuthpudeen, 44, pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust as a servant and one count of removing the benefits of criminal conduct from the country. (Getty file photo)

A manager at a local moneychanging business who absconded to Malaysia with nearly half a million dollars was jailed for three-and-a-half years on Monday (24 September).

Bahurudeen Kuthpudeen, 44, pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust as a servant and one count of removing the benefits of criminal conduct from the country.

The court heard that Bahurudeen worked for Mohamed Thahir Exchange at Collyer Quay. The company often required cash to buy foreign currencies.

On 27 March, at about 3pm, the owner of the firm, A M Mohamed Farook, signed three cash cheques for $469,900 in total and passed them to an employee to buy foreign currencies.

Shortly after, the employee handed the cheques to Bahurudeen, who left the firm at about 3.15pm for the RHB bank branch in Cecil Street.

There, he handed the cheques over to another company staff to withdraw the cash. Bahurudeen then took the cash and updated his company that the money had been collected.

As per company policy, another employee went to the bank to escort Bahurudeen back. But instead of waiting for the employee and returning to his company, Bahurudeen headed for Woodlands Checkpoint and fled across the Causeway via a bus at about 4.45pm.

His employer made a police report at about 5.10pm.

Bahurudeen passed $430,000 of the stolen cash to a friend in Malaysia, telling him that he would return for the money in two days’ time.

But Bahurudeen was caught by Malaysian police the next day at the Kedah border in northern Malaysia as he was trying to head to Thailand. He had $23,652 and 701 Malaysian ringgit with him. He was extradited to Singapore a day later.

Bahurudeen’s friend came to know of the arrest and returned the $430,000 cash to the company.

The maximum penalty for criminal breach of trust as a servant is 15 years’ jail and a fine. The maximum punishment for removing stolen property from the country is a fine of up to $500,000 and up to 10 years’ jail.

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