Con man netted $1m over 9 years

Con man netted $1m over 9 years

SINGAPORE - Over a nine-year period, serial con man Lai Chun Hoe, 45, duped more than 100 victims, mostly foreign workers from China and India, out of $999,981.

With his tall tales of offering help to his victims, their friends or their relatives to apply for work permits, Lai got his victims to pay for bogus employment-related services.

He also forged documents and passed them off as in-principle approvals issued by the Manpower Ministry's Work Pass Division.

But his lies landed him in court yesterday and he was sentenced to seven years' jail and a $22,000 fine.

He pleaded guilty to 25 out of 214 offences committed between 2005 and last year. They comprised cheating, and forgery to cheat, individuals and firms.

Lai's scam extended to work permits for Australia and Canada. Once, he cheated a firm's marketing manager, taking $107,500 to supposedly help 19 Chinese nationals. He also posed as a lawyer, and conned a cashier of $2,300 by offering to represent her in divorce proceedngs.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Cheryl Lim said Lai had not made restitution to his victims. Even with multiple police reports lodged against him, he remained at large and cheated more people.

She called for corrective training, a tough regime for repeat offenders without earlier release for good behaviour, for Lai.

But defence lawyer John Abraham said a pre-sentencing report on Lai's suitability for corrective training showed that he had a low to moderate risk of re-offending.

District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt sentenced Lai to imprisonment without corrective training.

This article was first published on March 06, 2015.
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