Nurse Misuses Surgery Opportunity to Steal $11,000 from Patients' Bank Accounts

The nurse took advantage of the patients' absence during the operation, stealing their bank cards and phones and linking them to his digital wallet.
Muhammad Ilyas Mohamed Noor, a 23-year-old nurse, was sentenced to 32 weeks in jail for stealing from surgery patients. (Representational image: Unspalsh)
Muhammad Ilyas Mohamed Noor, a 23-year-old nurse, was sentenced to 32 weeks in jail for stealing from surgery patients. (Representational image: Unspalsh)

In a horrific instance from Singapore's Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), Muhammad Ilyas Mohamed Noor, a 23-year-old nurse, was sentenced to 32 weeks in jail for stealing from surgery patients. Ilyas took advantage of the patients' absence during the operation, stealing their bank cards and phones and linking them to his digital wallet.

The scheme entailed Ilyas linking the victims' bank cards to his digital wallets using one-time passwords (OTPs) emailed to their phones. He stole more than S$11,000 (US$8,185) from at least four patients and attempted to gain an additional S$32,000 in goods and services.

The first event occurred in September 2022, when a 69-year-old patient underwent surgery. Ilyas stole the patient's phone and POSB debit card, then used the OTP supplied to the phone to link the bank card to his digital wallets and Google Play Store. The patient reported fraudulent transactions to the police.

Ilyas, sensing the potential profit, repeated his acts on additional victims, including a Bangladeshi patient who discovered S$1,000 missing from his account.

Ilyas stole the patient's phone and POSB debit card, then used the OTP supplied to the phone to link the bank card to his digital wallets and Google Play Store. (Representational image: Pixabay)
Ilyas stole the patient's phone and POSB debit card, then used the OTP supplied to the phone to link the bank card to his digital wallets and Google Play Store. (Representational image: Pixabay)

Eugene Phua, Deputy Public Prosecutor, sought a nine- to twelve-month sentence, amending his former position due to Ilyas' full reparation. However, the victims suffered a total financial loss of at least S$11,623.81. Ilyas had also attempted top-ups worth over S$32,000, which were mercifully unsuccessful.
During his punishment, Ilyas apologized for breaching trust and committing theft. He admitted the wrongfulness of his acts and thanked the police for apprehending him, confessing he was driven by greed.

Purely fortuitous that the additional transactions were unsuccessful, if not his sentence would have been 'far greater'.
Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz, District Judge

District Judge Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz emphasized the fortuitous failure of subsequent transactions, which avoided a more severe penalty. She saw true remorse in Ilyas' mitigating plea and measures toward restitution. Despite the repercussions, the judge expressed confidence in Ilyas' ability for change, predicting that this would be his final court appearance based on his commitment to self-improvement.
The example highlights the vulnerability of patients in healthcare settings and the significance of protecting personal possessions, especially in trusted surroundings. The nurse's violation of trust raises worries about hospital security and highlights the need for tougher safeguards to protect patients' privacy and assets.

In a day when healthcare practitioners are revered as frontline heroes, such occurrences serve as a sharp reminder of the significance of upholding ethical norms in the medical community. The court's decision to hold Ilyas accountable sends a clear message about the seriousness of breaching patient trust, emphasizing the importance of ongoing monitoring to protect the safety and well-being of those seeking medical care.

(Input from various resources)

(Rehash/Susmita Bhandary/MSM)

Muhammad Ilyas Mohamed Noor, a 23-year-old nurse, was sentenced to 32 weeks in jail for stealing from surgery patients. (Representational image: Unspalsh)
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