When Tan Tuan Lue and his friend arrived to complete a deal for $500,000 of NTUC FairPrice shopping vouchers at its main office in Upper Thomson, he did it in style. The car the 24-year-old came in was a luxury sedan, complete with chauffeur.
But Tan was actually jobless, the cheque he gave NTUC for the vouchers nothing more than a fake, and the car was a rental to "add an illusion of authenticity". Less than 48 hours later, the scheme unravelled when the cheque bounced and FairPrice blocked the use of the vouchers. Yesterday, Tan was jailed for 6½ months for cheating and using the vouchers.
His 20-year-old accomplice Hakim Leong, a student, had received 81/2 months in June for his part in the ruse.
The duo had set up a company called Miraclevents in November 2011, and it was through this firm that they ordered half a million dollars' worth of NTUC shopping vouchers. After getting their hands on the vouchers, they went on a shopping spree, spending $13,180 on liquor, cigarettes and a laptop - although almost $7,220 worth of items were recovered. The loss to the supermarket came up to $5,960.
The duo also exchanged vouchers worth $1,000 for an equivalent amount of CapitaMall ones with a victim Leong had ensnared online. The $700 cheque they gave to Modetti Office Services to register Miraclevents was a dud.
Defence counsel Gregory Ong told the court that Tan got to know Leong four years ago at a church in Chai Chee. He said that the younger man was "the brains, director, orchestrator and captain" of all the offences, with Tan playing a very minor role.
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