SINGAPORE – A police officer in debt due to the birth of his baby has decided to forge documents in order to apply for loans on his brother’s behalf, without his brother’s knowledge.
Muhammad Aqib Akhtar, 31, was jailed for 20 weeks on Tuesday (November 23) after pleading guilty to one count of forgery and one count of obstructing justice.
Four other counts of cheating were taken into consideration for his conviction. The staff sergeant has since been suspended by Singapore police.
The nine-year-old police veteran had previously been investigated for financial embarrassment.
$ 16,000 in debt
In February of last year, Aqib incurred around $ 16,000 in hospital bills due to his wife’s emergency cesarean operation. His wife was also on the debt repayment plan and had to pay $ 1,000 a month.
The accused paid about half of the bills by credit card, but was concerned about his expenses as he was investigated for financial embarrassment in 2016.
He decided to apply for credit cards and personal bank loans on behalf of his brother to pay off his debt.
Aqib then downloaded a smartphone app to edit PDF documents. He uploaded a Notice of Assessment (NOA) – a document issued by Singapore’s Inland Revenue Authority – belonging to him and replaced his contact details with those of his brother.
Aqib also asked his brother for photographs of his NRIC to support the apps. At the time, the brother asked for Aqib’s help in applying for a job as a GrabFood delivery man and therefore sent a copy of his NRIC to facilitate the application.
On May 5 last year, Aqib submitted an online application to OCBC Bank for a credit card, downloading his brother’s NOA and his NRIC copy.
Aqib also falsified a Central Provident Fund statement and Singapore Airlines payslips using his brother’s contact details and applied for credit cards or loans from four other banks from May 5 to 12 of the year. last.
OCBC bank discovered the fake NOA on May 6 of last year, when none of the banks approved the credit card or the loans.
Trying to cover his tracks
Agents from the Department of Commercial Affairs opened investigations into the case. When Aqib learned of this, he deleted the offending documents from his phone around June 4 of last year. He was investigated by police the same day and his phone was seized during inquiries.
The deleted documents were then recovered via forensic extraction.
In mitigation, Aqib’s attorney, SS Dhillon, outlined the circumstances that led to his offensive behavior. Married with three young children, Aqib saw his judgment “clouded by his financial dilemma” after his wife’s complicated pregnancy led to growing debt.
His wife, who worked for Singapore Airlines, also saw her salary drop from $ 2,300 to $ 2,000 due to the pandemic. His raises and bonuses were frozen, in addition to having to pay $ 1,000 a month.
âAqib’s attempts to solve his financial problems are like a man drowning and clinging to a drop of water. Although Aqib is physically alive, but emotionally, he is completely drained of his vigor to live, âsaid Dhillon.
Seeking six months in jail, the prosecution said Aqib premeditated the offense and abused his brother’s trust by using his contact details.
The judge allowed Aqib to postpone his conviction to complete his exam as he is currently pursuing further studies.
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