Posted By Staff Reporter
Two men were sentenced to four
years in prison for stealing more than K40,000 from two different customer
accounts at Bank South Pacific.
Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika, when handing down the sentence, said young people today are becoming
very smart with technology and are abusing the trust given to them by their
employers and paying customers.
The two prisoners, Pongowen
Popei and Mark Regione, each pleaded guilty and were convicted of one count of
conspiracy and two counts of stealing.
Popei was employed with Bank
South Pacific in the international transaction section.
Whilst there, he supplied the
internet banking details of two customers to his co-accused Regione. Regione
used the information to call BSP Port Moresby branch, pretending he was the
customer and asked to reset his internet banking password.
The bank believed he was the
customer because of the detailed information that he gave and he was
subsequently issued a temporary password.
He was then able to access the
bank accounts of the two unsuspecting customers online.
He changed the passwords and
thereafter transferred funds of K20,040 from the first victim and K20,020 from
the second victim to two other accounts belonging to two friends, Sylvester
Sambre and Jack Makoko.
Regione later withdrew the money
using his friends’ bank cards and shared the money between the four of them.
Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs
Salika said: "The scheme that the prisoners orchestrated and put into motion
took place twice over a period of two months.
"These are not one off offences.
The intricacy of the offences show how tactful the offenders were. If the
offences had not been detected the scheme would have continued. It was a scheme
deliberately and skillfully orchestrated, and would have continued."
"The money stolen was used for
various unproductive personal gratification – at clubs, restaurants, electronic
stores and shopping centres.
"On the March 7, 2012, as soon
as the prisoners successfully transferred K20,020 from the first customers
account into Makoko’s account, they went on a spending spree and spent a total
of K16,988 in one day.
"K9000 of the money was spent at
Fortune club and a K100 was spent at Lamana Hotel. Most of the K40,060 stolen
(i.e. about K18,430) was spent at Sky Enterprise Ltd. Money was also spent at
the Fone Haus to acquire an expensive mobile phone."
The Deputy Chief Justice said
the frequency and prevalence of dishonesty and stealing has increased
"Perpetrators seem to commit the
offences without fear or respect for the law and their employees," he said.
The court ordered that each of
the two are sentenced to four years but it further ordered that three years will
be suspended if the total unrecovered amount of K24,918.77 is refunded to the
bank within two years from today.
This means if the total amount is paid within
two years each will spend only one year in jail.
PNG Facts/Post Courier
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