A former engineer who stole S$62,000 worth of laptops and other computer items while working for the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) was sentenced to two years’ jail on Monday (Feb 18).
Soh Jun Sheng, a 23-year-old Malaysian and Singapore Permanent Resident, joined IT company NCS from Mar 26 last year, the court heard.
This was while he was on court bail for breaking into a house in Chiselhurst Grove to steal S$4,650 worth of electronic items on Nov 16, 2017.
As part of his new job with NCS, Soh provided IT support to IMDA as directed by the NCS service desk, issuing or changing laptops for IMDA employees.
He was given access to a few secure rooms in IMDA, where computers and accessories were kept, and decided to steal from these rooms to pay off debts to his father, close friend and the bank.
Within weeks of joining the company, Soh began stealing items from IMDA, including 30 Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, six iPads, six Lenovo monitors, 17 docking stations, 80 Lenovo power adaptors, 25 laptop bags, and 32 Lenovo mice.
Soh formatted the hard drives of seven of the laptops he stole so that he could bypass security systems originally installed by IMDA and sell them.
An IT associate from NCS made a police report and Soh was arrested on Jun 4. Raids at his home and office uncovered numerous computer devices and accessories, some of which were his own.
Investigations revealed that he had sold several of the stolen items on Carousell under his username “1sell2buy”, earning about S$28,000.
All the sold items were recovered from buyers, except for two Lenovo power adaptors which the buyers had sent overseas.
Soh pleaded guilty on Monday to nine charges, including criminal breach of trust as a servant, theft and several charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.
Another 15 charges were taken into consideration.
ACCUSED HAS GAMBLING DISORDER: DEFENCE
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Hsiao Tien asked for a term of at least two years’ jail, pointing out that Soh had committed most of the offences while on bail for the first theft charge.
Additionally, he did not make any restitution and the items stolen were worth a large sum of money, she said.
Soh’s defence lawyer Henry Lim asked instead for a term of 20 to 22 months’ jail, saying that his client had a gambling disorder.
He had spent most of the money he earned from the sale of the stolen goods in casinos, on debts or daily expenses, the court heard.
District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said she agreed with the prosecution’s submissions and that there was a need to send a deterrent message.
She ordered the stolen items to be returned to their rightful owners and granted the defence’s request for Soh to have a word with his father before serving his sentence.