Who said S’pore had no local talent? S’porean Cheats Amazon and Google S$7.6 Million and Jailed for 10 Years

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“Why go to East Asia to hunt for talent?” asked Facebook user Janet Tan on news that a Singaporean had managed to trick Amazon and Google into providing them with cloud services worth S$7.6 million.

Members of the online community have since suggested the man should not be put in jail, but rather used to outwit scammers.

They were referring to 32-year-old Ho Jun Jia, also known as Matthew Ho, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday June 23 for impersonating two others while deceiving Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google.

Channel News Asia reported that Ho had obtained the personal details and credit card information of the two men from a Dark Web forum.

Ho forged US driver’s licenses in 2017 on a dark web forum that called itself the “#1 fraud community.” He was then given access to the “VIP” section, which contained people’s names, addresses and credit card details.

One of the victims was the co-founder of video game developer Riot Games, Marc Merrill and another man named Harold Borland.

Ho used Mr. Merrill’s AMEX bank account and linked it to an email he created before creating a new AWS user account with the victim’s credit card number.

Ho was in Singapore between November 4, 2017 and January 28, 2018, when he brought in AWS to provide cloud computing services on at least 40 occasions.

He did the same with a Google Cloud Platform using the same details.

It has been reported that AWS and Google accounts have been suspended following failed payment attempts. The companies refunded the payments through AMEX.

However, Ho repeated the scheme using Mr. Borland’s details.

Around the same period, he used the computing power to mine around 1,468 units of Ethereum cryptocurrency.

He sold 203 units, earning over S$347,000, which he spent on personal expenses.

Ho was arrested on September 29, 2019 by officers from the Technology Crime Investigation Branch.

He pleaded guilty to 12 charges in March, which included offenses under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act and cheating by impersonation.

14 other charges were considered for sentencing.

His total sentence includes a three-year, five-month jail term for methamphetamine use and another drug-related charge, CNA reported.

However, Assistant Attorney General Ryan Lim has asked for at least 10 years in prison because Ho had set up a highly sophisticated scheme carried out solely via the internet.

“It is crucial that would-be criminals are strongly deterred from using the internet as a cheap, convenient and efficient means to commit crimes,” he said, adding that Ho’s offenses threatened to undermine Singapore’s reputation. as a financial and commercial hub.

Meanwhile, defense attorney SS Dhillon said no “actual physical money” was lost, as the two victims did not lose any money, although Amazon and Google suffered a loss of income.

District Judge Brenda Tan noted the breadth and sophistication of Ho’s offenses.

“Through his deceptions, Mr. Ho fraudulently obtained services worth a massive amount of over US$5.4 million, of which there was no restitution or compensation,” she said.

Judge Tan granted Ho a one-month reprieve to attend medical appointments at the Institute of Mental Health and fulfill his professional obligations.

Ho is currently free on S$180,000 bail.

Netizens commented on the news, noting Ho’s ingenuity. “So smart, our government should recruit him to lead a special IT department!” said Facebook user Tay Benny.

“I imprisoned him for 10 years for what? He’s so smart you should ask him to work for 10 years helping industries with his talent,” said Facebook user Alvin Chong.

“Ask him to help detect scammers etc. Ask him to track all the bad guys and catch all the scammers. Ask him to use technology to trace phone scams, FB scams for 10 years ‘Check it out’ to improve our resilience on technology”, he explained since Ho managed to deceive big companies like Amazon and Google.

Another netizen had the same feelings. ” He’s a genius ! Imagine using his talents as a countermeasure against our enemies.

“Didn’t we create an SAF division to manage technological threats? Rather than letting him do nothing in prison, put him in the SAF so that he can do his time in camp. Use his enormous talents there,” said Facebook user Eu Choon Leng./TISG

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