24 months' probation for teenager who cheated people by pretending to sell face masks online

SINGAPORE - A teenager who cheated five people of $580 in total by claiming that she was selling surgical face masks was given 24 months' probation and 80 hours of community service on Wednesday (May 20).

Nur Atiena Mohamed Asidi, 19, was also ordered by District Judge Eddy Tham to undergo counselling.

She had pleaded guilty to two cheating charges involving two victims and $350 in total last month.

The three remaining cheating charges involving three people and $230 were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Nur is the first person in Singapore to plead guilty to cheating offences involving face masks during the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

According to court documents, Nur used her account on online marketplace Carousell to advertise that she was selling surgical face masks.

One of the victims contacted Nur on Feb 18 and told the teenager that she wanted to buy 45 boxes of such masks.

Nur lied to the woman that she had available stock for the items and said that she could deliver them by Feb 20. She then asked the victim to transfer $100 to a bank account as a "deposit".

She became uncontactable soon after the victim did so.

 
 

Court documents state that the bank account belonged to another Carousell seller from whom Nur had agreed to buy a pair of Nike shoes.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Michelle Tay told the court earlier that Nur had deliberately searched for items being sold on Carousell for $100, which was the amount she expected to receive from the victim.

After buying the Nike shoes from the other seller for $100, Nur then instructed the victim to transfer the money to the seller's bank account, the DPP said.

"This was done by the accused in order to realise the fruits of her crime and at the same time conceal her identity. The accused received the Nike shoes some time later by parcel delivery," she added.

Nur cheated another woman of $250 in February using a similar method. Both victims lodged police reports later that month.

Nur had claimed that she used $340 of the cash she obtained to buy milk powder, food and diapers for her infant daughter. She has also made a restitution of $50 to date.

 
 
 

Pleading for leniency earlier in court, Nur said that a friend is now taking care of her daughter and the child's father is staying elsewhere. It was not stated if she is married to the child's father.

When giving Nur probation on Wednesday, Judge Tham told the teenager not to abuse the freedom that has been given to her.

"You are a mother as well, do not be tempted to make quick bucks through illegal means," he said.

For each count of cheating, Nur could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.