SINGAPORE: A 28-year-old man was charged on Saturday (Feb 15) with cheating another man into paying S$175,000 as a deposit for 500 cartons of surgical face masks.
Daryl Cheong Zhi Yong is accused of deceiving the man into believing that he had masks for sale at S$400,000 for 500 cartons, in an exchange said to have occurred near the McDonald's outlet at Jurong Point on Feb 13.
The victim had met Cheong at about 10am that day to hand over the cash after seeing an advertisement for masks on Carousell, police said on Friday.
After the S$175,000 was delivered, Cheong allegedly became uncontactable and did not deliver the goods.
He was identified and arrested later that day.
The prosecution on Saturday successfully applied for Cheong to be remanded for a week for the police to conduct further investigations.
"The accused has taken advantage of the current climate, where individuals are seeking to buy surgical masks in view of the coronavirus disease outbreak, and he has made a significant profit of at least S$175,000," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Michelle Tay.
She said the remand was for more time to trace victims, the flow of funds and to seize exhibits.
Cheong, who was unrepresented, told the judge: "I did not cheat anyone, I am only a third party. I'm only supplying to others. I was also cheated by another guy."
He said he wished to go to work and support his family. He was remanded for investigations and will return to court on Feb 21.
If found guilty of cheating, Cheong faces a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine.