Singapore Grab driver jailed for three months after pocketing S$33,678 wrongly transferred to his bank account

A Grab driver was sentenced to three months’ jail after pleading guilty to dishonestly removing property belonging to Grab. — TODAY file picture
A Grab driver was sentenced to three months’ jail after pleading guilty to dishonestly removing property belonging to Grab. — TODAY file picture

SINGAPORE, May 23 — A Grab driver thought he had struck it lucky when the ride-sharing firm accidentally transferred more than S$30,000 into his bank account.

Grab had intended to transfer the funds to an external vendor.

The driver, Wong Siew Wai, then refused to return the money or respond to Grab representatives. He also called POSB Bank to ask if they would take action against account owners who did not return erroneously transferred funds, and claimed its representative told him no action would be taken.

Today, the 54-year-old was sentenced to three months’ jail after pleading guilty to dishonestly removing property belonging to Grab. He will begin serving his sentence on Monday (May 27).

The court heard that on Aug 21, 2018, a Grab financial controller wrongly transferred S$33,678.25 intended for its vendor, Wow! Gadgets, into Wong’s POSB savings account. It was not stated how the error was made.

The financial controller discovered his mistake only nine days later, when the vendor told him that the beneficiary in the payment advice was wrong.

He immediately alerted his colleagues, who contacted Wong twice and told him Grab had wrongly transferred him the money. But Wong refused to give the money back and then became uncontactable.

For about two months, between Aug 31, 2018 and Oct 25, 2018, he used the funds to pay personal bills and buy food with a McDonald’s debit card. He also paid his son’s school fees and topped up his cash card.

Wong made multiple cash withdrawals from locations such as Resorts World Sentosa, where he withdrew S$500.

On Oct 24, a Grab regional finance controller lodged a police report. Wong was interviewed by the police the next day, when he admitted to pocketing the money and claimed he was in financial difficulties.

He then returned Grab about S$11,000 of the money he had not spent. To date, he has made restitution of S$12,000 in total.

He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined. — TODAY

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