SINGAPORE - A man befriended five women on dating platforms Match.com and Tinder before cheating them of almost $370,000 in total.
Malaysian Peter Aw Boo Cheong, 46, who is jobless, pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Nov 28) to 14 cheating charges involving nearly $250,000.
Twenty other similar charges linked to the remaining amount will be considered during sentencing.
He committed his offences between August 2016 and July last year, the court heard.
The Singapore permanent resident called himself "Daniel"and befriended the women who were between 39 and 48 years old.
He also led them to believe that he was interested in either a romantic relationship or a close friendship with them.
Four of his victims are Singaporeans, while the fifth woman is an Indonesian who lives here.
After meeting the women in person, Aw would lie to them by claiming that he was an experienced trader in foreign currencies and commodities.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Hsiao Tien told District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt: "In the accused's dealings with the female victims, he led them to believe that he was a credible and trustworthy person who had valuable information about investment, and would help them to invest in silver or foreign currencies for their best interests.
"In fact, the accused was never a trader and has never invested in foreign currencies and commodities."
The women were then duped into handing him their money but he did not use any of their funds for the purported investments.
Aw had also told the women that he needed money for various reasons, such as to pay for medical expenses and car repairs.
However, all these reasons were false, said the DPP.
Instead, Aw used the money for his personal expenses, including settling his gambling debts.
When the women realised they had been cheated, all five later alerted the police between December 2016 and September last year.
To date, Aw had made a partial restitution of $500 to one of the women. He has not made any restitution to the others.
He was offered bail of $25,000 on Wednesday and is expected to be sentenced on Jan 2.
For each count of cheating, he can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.