Man jailed almost 10 years for cheating victims of S$1.98 million for fake property investments
SINGAPORE: A man tricked multiple victims into giving him large amounts of cash totalling almost S$2 million by lying that he knew bigwigs in property and had investment opportunities.
Choi Kein Leong, 49, was given nine years and nine months' jail on Monday (Aug 16).
He pleaded guilty to 12 charges, mostly of cheating, with another 15 charges taken into consideration.
The court heard that Choi targeted eight victims between 2012 and 2016. He stole a Rolex watch from one victim and swindled the rest into handing over sums of between S$40,000 and S$430,000 for bogus property purchases or investments.
He lied to a 62-year-old man that he worked for Far East Organisation and had experience in property investment.
The victim handed him S$280,000 in late 2012 to early 2013 for him to invest in property on his behalf. Choi used the money for his own expenses, including gambling.
Choi then lied to the same victim that he knew the sister of the owner of Hong Leong properties, and could offer cheap condominium units to him in exchange for a downpayment.
The victim gave Choi downpayments of S$80,000, S$110,000 and S$160,000 to buy condo units in 2013. When the condo obtained the temporary occupation permit, the victim asked Choi for the keys, but Choi gave him various excuses. He had spent the money on himself.
Choi met another victim, a 69-year-old man, at the Resorts World Sentosa casino in 2014. Choi told the victim he could help invest in a property called "City Gate", and took S$20,000 from him.
Choi later returned the victim S$3,000, the only restitution he made to any of his victims.
Choi also cheated an 81-year-old friend by lying that he needed money to safeguard his property as he was undergoing a divorce.
He took S$40,000 from the elderly man and never repaid him.
Choi also cheated other victims by claiming he knew the bosses of real estate developers City Developments Limited and Far East Organisation.
For each charge of cheating, he could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined.