SINGAPORE: A man who used stolen credit card details to buy more than S$20,000 worth of items on online marketplace Honestbee for resale on Carousell was sentenced to 20 months' jail on Thursday (May 16).
John Foo Chi Yang, 27, committed the crimes over two months from August 2017.
He pleaded guilty to 20 charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, with another 50 charges taken into consideration.
The court heard that Foo downloaded an open source software that enabled him to surf the Internet anonymously in May 2017.
He then began surfing the Dark Web, which can be accessed only with the type of software he downloaded, and came across sites dealing in illicit items such as drugs, firearms and stolen personal information, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran.
Foo then used search engine Google to search for credit card details and found some belonging to people from all over the world.
He bought the details using Bitcoin and created accounts with online merchant platform Honestbee with phone numbers from Singtel pre-paid cards he bought from a peddler in Geylang, which were registered under the names of foreigners who had since left the country.
Foo then bought items using the stolen credit card details that cost a total of S$20,899.46 on Honestbee, collecting some of the items while wearing a surgical mask to prevent identification.
He resold most of the items, which included formula milk powder, diapers and bird's nest, on Carousell for a profit.
He was arrested in October 2017 after one of the credit card owners made a police report, and Honestbee reported several suspicious transactions on its website.
ELABORATE SCAM MOTIVATED BY FINANCIAL GAIN: PROSECUTOR
The prosecutor asked for two years' jail, noting the large number of charges.
"This is not a case where the offender picked up a credit card and began abusing it," he said. "It's an elaborate scam, a sophisticated scam, with a large degree of premeditation involved."
He added that Foo was motivated by financial gain.
Foo's defence lawyer, Josephus Tan, told the court that his client had not obtained illegal software from the dark web to commit crime, but had acquired the credit card details on open platforms like Google.
On top of this, he said, Foo has made full restitution, has not had previous convictions, and is relatively young.
He added that Foo has enrolled in the Singapore University of Social Sciences for a degree in business, but his studies have been deferred because of the offences.
Mr Tan cited three medical reports that said his client has a low risk of reoffending, and that he has a very supportive family.
District Judge Luke Tan pointed out that Foo took steps to remain anonymous, wearing a mask to collect the items.
"Reading the statement of facts, it's clear it was an elaborate scheme and the scale of the whole plan was well-thought through, well-planned, well-executed I must say," he said. "Unfortunately, all these are crimes."
He said he was of the view that the jail term should neither be as long as the two years the prosecution sought, nor as short as the 15 months' jail sought by the defence.
He allowed Foo to defer his sentence for a week.