Event organiser deceived judge into paying him $11k

Christopher Liew Kuo Wei was sentenced to four months' jail and fined a total of $14,000.
Christopher Liew Kuo Wei was sentenced to four months' jail and fined a total of $14,000.

A district judge was deceived by an event organiser into paying about $11,000 for the running of a family day event - a job the organiser had no intention of fulfilling.

A district court yesterday heard that Christopher Liew Kuo Wei, 42, owner and manager of Mirage Event Management, had just been made bankrupt in 2010 when he submitted an "attractive" quotation for the Judiciary Recreation Club's (JRC) Family Day event at Bottle Tree Park scheduled for November 2010.

Some time between Sept 22 and 24 that year, he deceived Family Court judge Masayu Norashikin Mohamad Amin by saying that Mirage had placed a tentative venue booking with the company, Bottle Tree, on Nov 27 that year as the original date, Nov 20, was unavailable. But immediate pre-payment was needed to secure the booking.

Ms Masayu then issued a cheque for $2,106 as a deposit to pay for the booking of the premises.

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JRC subsequently entered into two contracts with Mirage on Oct 4 that year - for event organisation and food catering.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi said the victim was fraudulently induced to issue a personal cheque for $7,929 to Mirage to pay the deposit for the contract.

The event was later postponed twice, and was finally fixed for Feb 26, 2011.

But five days before the event, Liew tried to have it postponed, citing manpower and financial issues. He also claimed that the gifts were not ready.

DPP Hon said that after Liew was made a bankrupt, he continued to run Mirage, and had also obtained credit, in the form of deposits, on 17 other occasions from 16 companies that had booked Mirage for various events.

Liew pleaded guilty in May to two of three counts of cheating Ms Masayu; three counts of obtaining credit above $500 without informing the clients that he was a bankrupt; and one of managing Mirage without permission from the Official Assignee in breach of the Business Registration Act.

He was yesterday sentenced to four months' jail and fined a total of $14,000. He was given until July 24 to start his jail sentence.

Liew, who is in the process of getting his bankruptcy annulled, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge of cheating.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline 'Event organiser deceived judge into paying him $11k'. Print Edition | Subscribe