Woman found guilty of cheating older woman of nearly S$50,000, promising to find her a husband
SINGAPORE: A 23-year-old woman was found guilty on Wednesday (Sep 30) of cheating an older woman out of nearly S$50,000, lying to her that she would help her find a husband.
Soh Chih Hui was convicted after a trial of one count of cheating the victim out of S$49,600 over nine occasions in 2015.
Soh was introduced to the victim by her mother, who was the victim's primary school friend, according to court documents. The victim later also worked for Soh's father at his bak kut teh stall.
The victim testified that Soh had promised to introduce her to a man who would become her boyfriend, and in time, her husband.
Soh claimed that the man was 51 years old, worked at a bank, and earned a monthly salary of S$7,000, the victim testified. Soh also said that the man owned a temple in Changi, and showed her a photograph of this purported man, said the victim.
The victim, then 56, said that Soh appeared to be possessed by two deities and told her she needed to acquire good karma before she could be with her prospective husband.
To do so, the victim was to chant prayers, perform rituals and make offerings. She was also told to give Soh cash for cosmetics, branded shoes and clothing.
Between April and October in 2015, the victim gave Soh S$49,600.
The victim said she realised she had been deceived in January 2016, when Soh asked her to sell her HDB flat.
The victim eventually lodged a police report.
The prosecution said Soh had treated the victim "akin to the accused's personal ATM", calling the victim whenever she wanted money, even when it was in the middle of the night.
The victim testified that she was "very frightened" and would give Soh whatever amount she asked for.
The victim was a superstitious person, said the prosecutors, going to temples to pray regularly and attending religious practice sessions, even changing her name for good luck.
She handed over her savings to Soh to perform rituals and prayers and to buy sweets and offerings because Soh promised to help her find a husband, said the prosecutors.
They said the victim was "plainly naive and simple-minded", who had only a secondary school education and held odd jobs her entire life. Soh exploited her for these qualities.
The victim gave Soh some of the salary she earned from working at the stall owned by Soh's father and borrowed money from her brother to do so as well.
Soh had argued in her defence that a statement she had given to the police, admitting to the offence, was done so involuntarily.
She will return to court for mitigation and sentencing in December.
For cheating, she could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.