SINGAPORE: A member of a religious event services group cheated multiple victims into paying him thousands of dollars for services that he had no intention of providing.
Mohammed Zamri Ahmad Tony, 36, also tried to steal from a donation box at a mosque in Buangkok.
He pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Jan 22) to four counts of cheating, with another five charges taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that Zamri was part of the Al-Badr & Ukiran Rentak group, which provided religious services to the Muslim community for special events.
The group advertised its services on Facebook, and generally collected payment for its services on the day of the event or after the services had been provided.
Between February and October 2016, Zamri deceived eight people into paying him for a range of services, mostly for wedding events, but also including solemnisations and religious rites.
In total, he cheated the victims out of S$3,850 by asking them to transfer money to stipulated bank accounts. The services were not provided by the group as they did not know about the transactions, and Zamri did not repay the victims.
One of his victims was a 30-year-old man, who was cheated in February 2016 into believing that the group would perform services for a wedding event a year later.
He transferred S$850 to Zamri in March 2016, but realised later that he had been cheated and lodged a police report.
Another victim, a 38-year-old man, paid Zamri a total of S$650 in June and July 2016 for a wedding event.
A month before the wedding, the man spoke to another member of the group and realised that Zamri had cheated him.
He also lodged a police report.
Zamri also tried to steal money from a donation box at Al-Mawaddah Mosque in Buangkok in the wee hours of Sep 23, 2016.
The group posted an announcement on Facebook on Nov 7, 2016, stating that Zamri had collected upfront payments from customers without its knowledge, and that he was no longer part of the group.
The prosecution asked for 12 weeks' jail to be imposed, and the judge adjourned sentencing to Feb 10.
The penalties for cheating are a maximum 10 years' jail and a fine.