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75-year-old retiree falls for love scam, hands over $270k within 2 months

75-year-old retiree falls for love scam, hands over $270k within 2 months
The victim was found to have handed over $150,000 in cash to a runner working for the fraud group. (Above) Items found on the runner after he was apprehended.
PHOTO: Singapore Police Force

An elderly woman lost $270,000 to a love scammer within two months after meeting the fraudster online. 

The ruse was discovered after she posted on Facebook about the transfers made.

According to Shin Min Daily News' report on Saturday (April 27), $150,000 of the money was handed over to a runner, who received a jail sentence on Friday. 

The retiree had got to know the suspect, named 'Chenghan' (transliteration), on Facebook last July, the Chinese evening daily reported. The two then exchanged phone numbers and began chatting on WhatsApp.

'Chenghan' began telling the victim that he hoped to settle down in Singapore so that he could be with her. He then asked her to help him pay a 'warehouse fee' of $23,800, which she did.

He also told her later on that he wanted to set up a business and asked the woman for $150,000 in cash.

After withdrawing the amount and putting them into two envelopes, the victim handed the money over to the intermediary on Sept 7.

She then posted a receipt on Facebook which showed the $23,800 paid, and indicated in a Story that she had transferred three separate sums totalling $273,800.

The Facebook posts caught the eye of a friend of the woman's brothers who alerted them to the incident.

The brothers later inspected her Facebook account and saw the messages that 'Chenghan' had sent to their sister.

Suspecting that their sister had fallen for a love scam, they lodged a police report.


The runner, named Mortel Virgilio Jr Marcial, was sentenced to a jail term of 11 months on Friday (April 26), reported Shin Min.

The Philippine national admitted to assisting the fraud group by receiving and handing over victims' cash to his accomplices.

On Sept 7, he had not only received $150,000 from the retiree but also $12,000 from another victim.

According to The Straits Times, court documents stated that Marcial had allegedly received the cash from the retiree at a Bayshore Road condominium, near Upper East Coast Road.

He kept $5,500 as a reward before handing over the remainder to another accomplice. He then converted the stolen money into virtual currency.

Mortel was said to be involved in an arrangement with a man known only as Lucas, The Straits Times reported. 

In mitigation, Marcial stated that he is the sole breadwinner of his family of six, according to Shin Min.

Expressing remorse for his wrongdoing, he stated that he was in debt at the time of the offence and his salary was insufficient to support all six members of his family, including his parents and two young children.

He pleaded for leniency so that he could reunite with his family back home at the earliest time.

ALSO READ: 16-year-old among 309 probed over scams involving over $9 million in losses

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