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Disgraced Singapore casino regulator sentenced to 25 months in prison

A former official at Singapore's Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) will spend the next 25 months in prison after confessing to stealing and selling government property.

Zulkiflie Yacob, 45, served at the CRA before the gaming regulator formally changed its name to the Gambling Regulatory Authority last year. Prosecutors in the city-state said in court last year that while working at the CRA from April 1, 2016, to October 30, 2018, Yacob stole and sold over 750 printer cartridges.

Yacob's duties at the CRA included purchasing office supplies. Yacob eventually confessed to stealing 621 printer cartridges worth roughly S$80,000 (US$60,300). He pleaded guilty to two charges of criminal breach of trust.

Yacob admits to overordering printing cartridges in order to sell some on Carousell, a prominent Singaporean online marketplace.

Long Term in Prison

Prosecutors argued during Yacob's sentencing this week that a hefty jail sentence is appropriate because to the probable loss of public faith in the government agency.

“During the course of investigations, the accused revealed that he declared financial embarrassment in 2015 and therefore used the monies received from the sale of the dishonestly misappropriated printer cartridges to pay his bills and expenses,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Niranjan Ranjakunalan. “The accused did so to dishonestly misappropriate and sell some of these printer cartridges, and pocketed the sales proceeds.”

Yacob made a partial reparation of $25K to the Gambling Regulatory Authority in January to keep his prison sentence as low as possible. Yacob said that he made money by selling the cartridges at a discount of $50 to $100 online.

"[Yacob] wishes to explain that the restitution amount made is based on the amount of money he earned from selling the misappropriated toners and cartridges," his attorney stated in court, demanding a maximum sentence of 16 months.

The judge imposed a 25-month prison sentence. Yacob was released on $15K bail and will return to prison on April 28.

Yacob faced significantly more time in prison, as each count of criminal breach of trust in Singapore is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Regulatory Responsibilities in the Gambling Industry

The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore oversees the city-state's casino duopoly, which is controlled by Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. The integrated resorts are owned and operated by Las Vegas Sands and Genting Malaysia, respectively.

The Singaporean government agreed in 2019 to extend the corporations' duopoly until 2030. This was accomplished in exchange for each casino investing an additional $3.3 billion in its resorts through restorations, expansions, and upgrades.

Marina Bay Sands is frequently referred to as the global integrated resort industry's "gold standard." Prior to the outbreak, the hotel was consistently ranked as the world's most successful casino resort.

Marina Bay Sands generated more than $2.16 billion in gross gaming revenue in 2019. The hotels on the property generated $404 million in revenue.



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