Jail for Grab driver who refused to return S$33,600 wrongly transferred to him by Grab

Jail for Grab driver who refused to return S$33,600 wrongly transferred to him by Grab

In Singapore, Grab cut driver incentives after its merger with Uber.
File photo of a Grab car. (Photo: Facebook/Grab)

SINGAPORE: A Grab driver who was mistakenly transferred about S$33,600 by Grab was jailed for three months on Thursday (May 23) for misappropriating the money.

The money had been wrongly transferred to Wong Siew Wai's POSB savings account on Aug 21 last year by a finance associate at Grab.

The sum of S$33,678.25 had been meant as payment to a vendor, Wow! Gadgets, the court heard.

Nine days later, the vendor alerted the finance associate to the error in the payment advice, and he alerted his colleagues immediately.

Grab contacted Wong, 54, on Aug 30 and 31, informing him that they had wrongly transferred the sum to his bank account and asking him to return the amount.

However, Wong deliberately refused and could not be contacted, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Claire Poh.

HE CALLED POSB TO ASK IF ANY ACTION WOULD BE TAKEN

Instead, he called POSB to ask if the bank would take any action against an account holder who refuses to return funds that were erroneously transferred.

"The accused claimed that the POSB representative told him no action would be taken," said the prosecutor.

For about two months after he was alerted to the error, Wong used the money for personal bills, bank transfers, cashcard top-ups and other transactions.

In particular, he made substantial bank transfers to pay for his son's school fees, and also withdrew a total of S$8,300 in cash. 

On Oct 24 last year, a regional finance controller with Grab made a police report and Wong was interviewed by the police a day later.

He admitted to misappropriating the money, claiming he decided to spend it instead of returning it to Grab as he had financial difficulties.

About S$11,000 or a third of the money from Grab was still in his bank account on the day he spoke to the police.

Four days later, the S$11,000 was transferred back to Grab, and Wong returned an additional S$1,000 to the company.

Wong pleaded guilty to one charge of misappropriation and was allowed to defer his sentence to May 27.

For misappropriation, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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