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Singapore

Woman jailed for cheating 89 victims of S$1.8 million in renovation scam

SINGAPORE: A 41-year-old woman behind a renovation scam involving almost S$1.8 million was sentenced to jail for seven years and nine months on Tuesday (Sep 25).

Husniyati Omar pleaded guilty to 21 charges, mostly for cheating, with another 126 charges taken into consideration.

In delivering the sentence, District Judge Edgar Foo said he took note of the large number of victims and large amount of money involved in the case. He also noted that she reoffended while on police bail.

The sum of Husniyati's offences involved 89 victims - homeowners and subcontractors who lost a total of S$1,796,000, the court heard.

In 2016, Husniyati persuaded her friend Christina Wong Hoi Khay to be the director of a renovation firm.

This firm, called Carpentry Design Works, was controlled by Husniyati and her husband Aszrul Yusoff.

She posted advertisements on Carpentry's Facebook page, promising low quotations and free air-conditioning units to customers who took up home renovation contracts with Carpentry by a stated date.

She duped victims into believing that Carpentry would complete all renovation works detailed in a written agreement, inducing them to make payments, but never intending to honour the agreement, the prosecution said.

The only works done in the victims' homes were hacking works. When the homeowners grew anxious as the deadline for completion of renovation works drew closer, they tried to contact Husniyati and her husband.

The couple would claim that further payments were necessary, the prosecution said.

In some cases, Husniyati engaged subcontractors to complete part of the renovation works for some of her "customers", but did not intend to pay them.

They completed tiling, carpentry and air-conditioning work in this manner without payment.

Even after she was arrested in April last year, Husniyati continued to cheat victims through another renovation company, Chanteq Flooring Specialist. She did so with Chanteq director and shareholder Mohammad Khairuldin Abdullah, who was a former employee at Carpentry.

Husniyati has been previously convicted for similar offences. In 2015, she misappropriated about S$68,000 from home renovation firm Elegance Concept, where she worked as a sales and marketing manager.

She has not made any restitution to the victims. The court case for Husniyati's husband is pending.

Source: CNA/ll(hm)

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