Jailed for cheating 95 people of $300k over phone contracts

Jailed for cheating 95 people of $300k over phone contracts

SINGAPORE - A serial cheat was jailed for 3½ years yesterday after duping people out of almost $300,000 in a mobile phone contract scam.

Enticing them with quick cash, Sng Boon Chye got 95 victims to sign up for phone plans between March 2010 and April 2013 and then hand over the devices they got. Some were referred to Sng by earlier victims.

The 34-year-old had promised them commissions, based on the number of devices obtained.

The court heard that Sng would hand victims three- to four-digit sums in return for the devices, which largely comprised iPhones and iPads. He also promised to pay their subscription and termination fees.

Sng, who pleaded guilty to 35 of 181 cheating charges, then sold the items at a second-hand shop.

No devices were recovered, and he has not returned the money. He also reneged on his promises and left the victims saddled with unwanted telco contracts.

Sng's jail term includes two months for criminal breach of trust (CBT) in February last year, when he abused his position as assistant manager at Hei Sushi restaurant in Tai Seng Street and pocketed $14,826.20. He has returned this amount in full.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ang Siok Chen said Sng had hatched his scheme over a long period of time. He had abused the trust of his victims, two of whom were duped as many as five times.

In mitigation, Sng's lawyer said his client had been suffering from kidney stones and needed money for medical expenses. He misappropriated the eatery's money to pay for renovation works on his HDB flat in Sengkang.

Sng, who is married with three children, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each count of cheating. For CBT, he could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

pohian@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on February 28, 2015.
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