Out of bail for cheating, man pulls off $18k scam

Out of bail for cheating, man pulls off $18k scam

While he was out on bail after being charged in court for cheating, a 37-year-old man moved on to a more sophisticated scam.

Ngooi Chee Hsien duped his new employer, an events management company, into thinking that he had secured a contract with automaker Audi. To convince his bosses, he concocted fake e-mail exchanges with Audi employees, and prepared fake budgets and sales projections with 3-D graphs and pie charts.

Ngooi duped his employer out of more than $18,000 for a bogus Audi event and even made his bosses buy BlackBerry phones as door gifts.

The result: He landed himself in jail with a five-year term on five counts of cheating, to which he pleaded guilty.

On Friday, he appealed to the High Court to reduce the district court's sentence. In an emotional speech, Ngooi, who has past convictions, claimed he turned to crime because his wife and two children were harassed by moneylenders over a $120,000 loan, for which he stood as a guarantor.

But Justice Tay Yong Kwang dismissed his appeal.

In 2011, Ngooi worked as project manager for Communication Design International which, among other things, provides interior design services for retail stores. He was tasked to manage the renovation of the Adventure 21 Outdoor & Travel Outfitters outlet at the Central mall.

Ngooi created fake invoices from Communication Design and tricked Adventure 21 director Gordon Tan into believing that he had made advance payments to his employer on Mr Tan's behalf.

He cheated Mr Tan into paying him about $63,000 over eight occasions between November 2011 and February last year. Ngooi's employer made a police report in March last year.

After he was charged in court and released on bail, Ngooi landed a job with Avant Garde Agency as an events and creative director. He tricked managing director R. Sasikumar and chief financial officer Kanan Packrisamy into believing he had secured an events management contract with Audi. Not only did he claim expenses on the fictitious event, he also made his employers buy BlackBerry phones, which he promptly sold for cash.

Ngooi even came up with a way to make them pay for his legal fees. He forged an invoice with details of engineering works carried out for the fake event.

The invoice was in the name of "Amarjit Singh & Associates", which he told his employers was a firm of professional engineers but were, in fact, his lawyers.

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