Woman accused of cheating cleaner claims to be a victim

DECEIVED:Mr Tan, who is unable to stand up straight due to a spinal injury, juggles two jobs to repay money he thought he had owed the Government. The scam was devised by two women.

SINGAPORE - One of the two women accused of cheating a cleaner out of more than $400,000 now claims that she is innocent and also a victim of cheating herself.

Tan Soy Kiang, 70, gave his salary to two women for 15 years, believing that the money went towards paying off a debt he owed to the Government. The debacle was brought to light only when his niece returned from Australia in 2013.

One of the women, Wu Shuxiang, told evening daily Lianhe Wanbao yesterday that she is a victim herself, and has been cheated of almost $40,000 by the other woman, known only as Madam Tan.

Madam Wu, 69, made a police report on Sunday. She is also assisting police investigations in Mr Tan's case.

According to Shin Min Daily News, the two women claim they do not know the exact sum of money taken from Mr Tan over the course of 15 years.

Madam Tan, who has been arrested, told Shin Min that she received only about $30,000, and was shocked to read in the papers that the total sum taken from Mr Tan was $400,000.

However, the 65-year-old admitted that she had initially taken the money from Mr Tan to pay off her gambling debt incurred from playing mahjong, but continued taking the payments out of greed.

"I shouldn't have been so greedy," she told Shin Min. "I shouldn't have taken his money."

Madam Tan said that she has been addicted to mahjong for many years and racked up debts running into tens of thousands of dollars. Madam Wu told Wanbao that she has been good friends with Mr Tan for more than 50 years, and that he had given her his salary out of his desire to help an old friend.

While she admitted that she has been the one taking money from Mr Tan, Madam Wu insisted that she gave all the money she collected to Madam Tan.

According to Madam Wu, Madam Tan told her to pay $390 to join a government plan, which would reap monthly payouts of $30.

The payouts did not materialise and Madam Tan told her that she had found someone from the Government to address this issue, but more money was required in order to fund the lawsuit.

"Madam Tan said that if we won the lawsuit, we would get back all the money on top of reparations," Madam Wu told Wanbao yesterday.

"So she took $200 from me every month, sometimes saying it was for lawyer fees, sometimes saying it was for the judge."

Madam Wu told Wanbao that she had met Mr Tan while working as a cleaner and claimed that she would never cheat an old friend. According to Madam Wu, she confronted Madam Tan at her house on Saturday.

"I asked her why she didn't call the Government for help.

She said the Government no longer cares about this case," said Madam Wu. She told Wanbao that she is unable to believe that she has been cheated, and still holds out hope of the Government returning the money to them.

Meanwhile, a man by the name of Dan Chen, who works in an international school, has started a campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo on Sunday to help Mr Tan.

His goal was to raise US$5,000 (S$6,800), but by 9pm yesterday, more than US$28,000 had been raised by 851 people.

However, when he was told about these donations, Mr Tan said: "I have money, I don't need it."


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