SINGAPORE: Attracted by an erotic profile photo of a "woman" on Twitter, a man began messaging the woman and paid almost S$9,000 to her for sexting services and to help her for her purported sob stories.
However, the "woman" turned out to be a 24-year-old man, who turned on the victim and threatened to publicly shame him if he did not provide more cash.
The accused pleaded guilty on Thursday (Jan 21) to five charges including cheating, distributing an intimate image online and taking prohibited photos of the police station when he went down for investigations.
Another five offences will be considered in sentencing. He cannot be named as it would identify his ex-girlfriend, who is also a victim as he used her photo for the fake Twitter profile.
The court heard that the victim, a 29-year-old man, was browsing through the social messaging platform on Apr 4 last year when he chanced upon a new follower.
The Twitter profile belonged to the accused, who was impersonating a woman named Regina and had posted his girlfriend's erotic photo as his profile picture.
Drawn by the photo, the victim messaged "Regina" and complimented her. The accused replied and offered S$200 for 48 hours of sexting services to the victim, which would include sex-texting, pictures and videos.
At first the victim declined, as he could not afford the fee, and replied that "words, videos and pictures may not be enough for him", court documents said.
The accused persuaded the victim, and he eventually agreed to buy the services, transferring S$200 to the accused's bank account on Apr 4.
They began exchanging messages off Twitter, with the accused sharing Regina's sad life story, including details of how she owed money, faced the possibility of loan sharks sharing her nude photos and videos, and her family issues.
The accused told the victim that "she" loved him, and the victim eventually fell for Regina, pitying her and wanting to help her as he cared for her.
The accused kept asking for money, which he spent on his personal expenses, giving a different pitiful story each time to deceive the victim. In total, between Apr 4 and May 17 last year, the victim transferred money 14 times to the accused, totalling S$8,960. The sums on each transaction ranged from S$200 to S$1,500.
On May 18, the accused asked for another S$1,000, but the victim refused to comply and ignored the messages. After trying again a few days later, the accused became angry, threatening to publicly shame and blame the victim for supposedly forcing "her" to becoming homeless and starving to death.
He also claimed that Regina wanted to commit suicide and said that "something would happen at midnight" because the victim refused to lend any money.
Afraid that Regina would blame him, the victim lodged a police report. He had already borrowed some money from his retired father, and he would not have entertained the requests if he had known Regina was a man, the court heard.
GIRLFRIEND REALISED ACCUSED USED HER PHOTOS
Investigations into the offence revealed that the accused had used his then-girlfriend's photo for the account which he created in March 2020.
He added this description: "The temptress that fulfils and satisfy you of all your temptations, fantasy, and everything you have ever wanted for your sexual hunger!"
The picture he used was of his girlfriend's breasts, which she had sent to him in the course of their relationship for his viewing only.
When his girlfriend realised that some of her intimate images had been disseminated online, she was distressed, shocked and angry at the accused.
When the accused went to Bedok Police Division Headquarters on May 21 last year for investigations, he took five photos at the station despite clear signs indicating that unauthorised photography was not permitted. The photos were later discovered during a forensic examination of his phone and are the subject of another charge.
The man will return to court for mitigation and sentencing in March.
For cheating, he could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined. For distributing an intimate photo, he could be jailed for up to five years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these penalties.
For prohibited photography of a protected place, he could be jailed up to two years, fined up to S$20,000, or both.