Singaporean jailed for deceiving Amazon, Google for S$7.6 million worth of cloud services

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SINGAPORE: A man was sentenced to 10 years' jail on Thursday (Jun 23) for impersonating two others to deceive Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google for about US$5.4 million (S$7.6 million) worth of cloud computing services.

Ho Jun Jia, 32, also known as Matthew Ho, used personal and credit card information of two men that he got from a Dark Web forum to cheat both companies.

One of his victims was Marc Merrill, the co-founder of video game developer Riot Games.

Ho, who was unemployed at the time, used this computing power to mine about 1,468 units of the cryptocurrency Ether between Nov 21, 2017, and Mar 1, 2018.

He later sold about 203 units of the illegally acquired Ether, making more than S$347,000, which he spent on personal expenses.

In March, he pleaded guilty to 12 charges, including offences under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act and cheating by personation.

His total sentence includes three years and five months in prison for consuming methamphetamine and another drug-related charge.

Another 14 charges were considered for sentencing.

The court previously heard arguments from the prosecution and defence on the sentence to be imposed on Ho.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ryan Lim had asked for at least 10 years' jail for what he called a highly sophisticated scheme carried out entirely through the Internet, enabling Ho to hide his identity during the offences.

"It is crucial that would-be criminals are strongly deterred from using the Internet as a cheap, convenient and effective means to commit crime," he said last month.

Mr Lim also highlighted the transnational nature of Ho's offences, arguing that they threatened to undermine Singapore's reputation as a financial and commercial hub.

Defence lawyer S S Dhillon had said that while the amount involved in the offences was high, there were no "actual physical monies" lost.

He argued that AWS and Google suffered a loss of revenue in the form of fees for the cloud computing services, but that the two men Ho impersonated did not lose any money.

He also highlighted Ho's diagnosis of adjustment disorder from around the end of 2017 to August 2018, and his mental health history that saw him spend time as a patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in the past.

In her judgment on Thu...

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