Singapore - A beautician was jailed for a period of seven months on Monday, August 1, for being involved with three others in a conspiracy to use counterfeit chips at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino.
The scam -- they would exchange a few counterfeit $1,000 casino chips for the authentic ones of a smaller value, mix together the real chips with the added fake ones, and then exchange the entire lot for cash at the Marina Bay Sands in Bayfront Avenue. To avoid detection, the runners of the transnational counterfeit casino chip syndicate were instructed not to cash-in more than $5,000 worth of chips at a time. After completing the task, each runner would pass the cash received to the recruiter, and then they will receive a certain amount of money as their reward.
On Monday, August 1, one of the runners, Tang Shiwei, age 26, a mother of two and works as a beautician, was sentenced for seven months in jail for conspiring with her cousin and two other men in the act of passing the fake chips off as real ones.
On November 22 last year, Tang, originally a Chinese national and now a Singapore permanent resident, was found to have exchanged a number of 30 pieces of counterfeit $1,000 face-value chips, which equates to $30,000. In return, she got $600 from the syndicate.
MBS discovered the scam only a week later (November 29 last year) and ordered to recall all its $1,000 casino chips. The casino suffered losses of over $1 million. They have reported the scam to the police, which prompted subsequent investigations resulting in the arrest and charging of many individuals found to be connected with the syndicate.
Tang admitted to one of 12 charges of abetment in a conspiracy to use as genuine casino chips that she had reason to believe to be fake.
Tang cried when her lawyer was mitigating on her behalf and seeking the clemency of the court, emphasising that they be merciful to her since she has two young children, aged 10 months and the other three years old, and her husband is simply a hairdresser. Also, Tang expressed that she trusted her cousin, a 30-year-old Chinese national, who asked her to join them.
Seven others were caught - four women and three men - and they were jailed between six and 22 months for the same offenses.
The case against the co-conspirators is still pending.
If not for the court's clemency, Tang could have been fined up to $150,000 and/or put behind bars for up to seven years.