Woman goes on spending spree using stolen credit card. Then she tries to buy a burger
By Low Youjin
SINGAPORE — A 30-year-old woman went on a 16-day spending spree, racking up S$455.72 in purchases of groceries, clothes and food with a credit card she had found in a female toilet at Jurong East Mall.
But Loke Choy Yen’s spree came to a halt on Dec 4 last year when she tried to buy a S$3.20 burger at a 7-Eleven store using the credit card.
The transaction was declined and Loke was subsequently arrested two weeks later.
On Monday (June 3), Loke pleaded guilty to one charge of dishonest misappropriation and another charge under the Computer Misuse Act. She was also convicted of six charges of cheating.
Fifteen other charges will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
FOILED BY A BURGER PURCHASE
The court heard that Loke had gone to the toilet on the fourth floor of the mall on Nov 19 last year when she spotted an OCBC NTUC Visa credit card lying on a cubicle’s floor.
To test if the credit card was still working, Loke charged a single cent to it when she returned to her workplace, the Penang Culture restaurant, before voiding the transaction.
A colleague advised her to hand over the credit card to someone from OCBC Bank, which had a branch in the basement, but Loke had other ideas.
The following afternoon, she bought a set of children’s clothes worth S$48 at KiddyPalace at the adjoining Westgate Mall.
Ten minutes later, she returned to the same store and made yet another purchase worth S$43.80.
She continued her spending spree for two weeks, but spending not more that S$50 each time, buying shoes from the Flip Flop Shop at the nearby JCube Shopping Mall, groceries from a Sheng Siong supermarket and beer from the Duke Shanghai Pub, among other things.
It all came to an end when she visited a 7-Eleven outlet at Kampong Bahru at around 11.20pm on Dec 4 and tried to use the card to buy a burger that costs S$3.20.
The transaction was declined and Loke was arrested on Dec 18 after being identified from CCTV footage.
She has since made full restitution.
‘LAPSE OF JUDGEMENT’
Loke’s lawyer Peter Ong sought a fine of not more than S$1,000.
He said in mitigation that although his client was not facing any financial difficulty, she was not from a rich family either and “barely makes enough”.
Loke, who has a 21-month-old daughter, was her family’s sole breadwinner as her husband was unemployed, he added.
Loke’s mother-in-law also suffers from diabetes and kidney failure.
“She is not saying she should not be punished. But at the same time, she has no (past criminal) record and has been a law abiding citizen till now.”
“She did not steal the card, she picked it up. It’s a lapse of judgement,” said Mr Ong, who asked the court to “temper justice with mercy”.
Loke will be sentenced on June 24.
For the dishonest misappropriation of the credit card, she could be jailed for up to two years and/or fined.
Each charge of cheating comes with a jail term of up to three years and a possible fine.
For making a purchase at the self-checkout kiosk at a supermarket, which falls under the Computer Misuse Act, Loke could be fined up to S$5,000 and/or jailed up to two years.