Youth in online blackmail scam gets reformative training

Youth in online blackmail scam gets reformative training

AN 18-YEAR-OLD who was part of an online blackmail scam, which used the offer of escort and massage services as bait, was yesterday sentenced to reformative training in jail.

Vengadesan Krishnan's role was to withdraw money through ATMs from accounts into which victims had transferred money.

In return, he received 10 per cent of the money.

Vengadesan, who pleaded guilty to two charges, with a further eight taken into consideration, withdrew $20,300 between June 4 and July 31 last year.

The scam entailed posing as a woman and posting a fake online advertisement for the services.

When victims responded, Easudas Jason or other unidentified accomplices would pretend to be the girl's father and a police officer.

They would then threaten to start investigations and go to the media.

Fearing embarrassment, the victims would transfer money.

Corresponding charges against Easudas, 33, are still pending. Easudas and another man, 28-year-old Saravanan Uthasverian, also fought separate charges over the same scam but were convicted on May 30.

They were sentenced to five years and 12 weeks in jail, and four years' jail and six strokes of the cane respectively.

Vengadesan, who also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of rioting, committed some of the crimes while on probation for offences related to unlicensed moneylending, for which he was convicted in 2011.

Reformative training is a strict regime in which offenders under 21 are kept behind bars for between 1½ and three years as they undergo structured rehabilitation programmes.

For each of his offences under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, he could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined $200,000.

This article was first published on August 14, 2014.
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