Cheat jailed over Apple products scam

Theresa Tan, 47, cheated four victims of $13,075 by claiming that she could get Apple products for them at lower prices.
Theresa Tan, 47, cheated four victims of $13,075 by claiming that she could get Apple products for them at lower prices.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A woman who duped her victims into believing that she had discounted Apple products for sale was sentenced to 16 months' jail yesterday.

Over three months last year, Theresa Tan cheated four victims of $13,075. She has made partial restitution of $1,950 to two victims.

The 47-year-old pleaded guilty to four of 10 charges of cheating.

Sometime during or before last July, she decided to deceive people into believing that she had contacts at Apple stores, and could get products cheaper. But she had no such contacts nor intended to help the victims get any Apple products.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Victoria Ting said on Aug 21 last year, Tan was attending a child's birthday party when she told Ms Lim Hong Yee that her cousin worked for Apple and could get iPhone7, iPhone7 Plus and iPad products.

Ms Lim, who needed a mobile phone, agreed to order two phones through Tan and transferred $1,160 to her bank account as a deposit.

On Sept 11, Tan told her via messaging service WhatsApp that "stocks'' had arrived. She falsely represented that if Ms Lim bought a third product, it would be free.

As such, Ms Lim was dishonestly induced to transfer another $2,040 to Tan's bank account, purportedly as payment for three mobile phones and an iPad. Tan has returned only $400 to Ms Lim, who was cheated of a total of $4,400.

Tan's lawyer Ms Alice Tan, assigned by the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said her client is a divorcee with three children from the marriage and is also a mother to a girl, seven. She said Tan committed the offences out of financial stress as she was unable to find gainful employment.

Tan could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined on each charge.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2017, with the headline 'Cheat jailed over Apple products scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe