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Part-time cashier at Decathlon exploited loophole in system to siphon off more than S$15,000

SINGAPORE — A cashier who was working at the Chai Chee branch of sporting store Decathlon took advantage of a loophole in the company’s point-of-sale system to siphon thousands of dollars by making fake refunds.

Part-time cashier at Decathlon exploited loophole in system to siphon off more than S$15,000

Thinesh Paramasivam, 20, took more than S$15,000 from sporting goods store Decathlon by creating fake refunds in their system.

SINGAPORE — A cashier who was working at the Chai Chee branch of sporting store Decathlon took advantage of a loophole in the company’s point-of-sale system to siphon off thousands of dollars by making fake refunds.

Thinesh Paramasivam, a 20-year-old who is current serving National Service, pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Sept 18) to two charges of misusing the system to perform 88 fake refund transactions over close to two years, with a total value of S$15,240.59.

The case involving another cashier – a 21-year-old woman who was Thinesh’s secondary school classmate – will be heard at a later date. 

Thinesh admitted to having told her about the loophole.

The court heard that soon after Thinesh joined Decathlon as a part-time cashier in 2016, he discovered that he could channel credit from the point-of-sale system to his own bank account by creating fake refunds. 

Between June 10, 2016 and Feb 24, 2018, he would indicate in the system that certain items were to be refunded although there was no actual customer seeking a refund and that no product was returned. 

During his first fake refund on June 10 in 2016, he took S$136.49. On Oct 4 that year, he again made a “refund”, this time for a S$3.08 item.

Then each “refund” grew to as much as S$305.60. 

Thinesh was aware of the surveillance cameras present in the store and would at times shield the terminal with a sheet of paper as he was performing the “refunds”.

On some occasions, he would take cash directly from the cashier’s terminal instead of channeling the money into his bank account, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) M Kayal Pillay said.

Decathlon only discovered the ruse in February 2018 after finding discrepancies in its inventory system. 

Figures in the system indicated that there were items refunded but there were no corresponding products returned by the customers who apparently sought a refund. 

A store manager then lodged a police report stating that two staff members at Decathlon had “stolen money” from the company. 

Thinesh's actions constituted offences under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act which carry a jail term of up to three years, a fine of up to S$10,000, or both.

After he pleaded guilty, DPP M Kayal asked for a report assessing if Thinesh would be suitable to be sent for reformative training at this point.

Unlike probation, reformative training results in a criminal record and puts the youth offender through a comprehensive programme in a closed and structured environment.

The defence, meanwhile, argued that a pre-sentencing report assessing his suitability for a probation would suffice at this point. They said that he was still a student at the time of the offence and calling for a report for reformative training could disrupt his National Service.

Following deliberations, District Judge Carol Ling Feng Yong called for a pre-sentencing report to assess Thinesh’s suitability for probation.

Thinesh will return to court on Oct 30 for sentencing. He remains out on a S$5,000 bail.

Related topics

court Sports cheat crime refund Decathlon breach of trust

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