Fitness trainer jailed for cheating client of $5,000

A fitness trainer who lied to his client that he needed $10,000 for his father's chemotherapy treatment was jailed for four months on Friday for cheating her of $5,000. -- PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS
A fitness trainer who lied to his client that he needed $10,000 for his father's chemotherapy treatment was jailed for four months on Friday for cheating her of $5,000. -- PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A fitness trainer who duped his girlfriend out of $5,000 by claiming it was for his father's cancer treatment was jailed for four months yesterday.

Filipino Jason Mamangon Sangalang, 30, started dating Ms Michelle Joanne Hardie, 39, after they met at California Fitness Centre at Velocity@Novena Square, where she was his client.

In August 2012 he asked to borrow $10,000 from her to fund his father's hospital treatment in the Philippines. He did not tell her that his father was actually involved in a case of illegal possession and discharge of a firearm and needed money to pay for his legal fees.

He promised to repay her on a monthly basis and, out of pity, she agreed to lend him $5,000, the court heard.

In late September that year, she asked him to show her his father's hospital receipts. He produced a fake one headed "Metro Manila Hospital" with some handwriting and amounts on it.

Ms Hardie later found out that there was no such hospital and Sangalang dropped contact with her.

He was arrested at California Fitness Centre at Ngee Ann City in January last year, three months after she lodged a police report that he had not returned the $5,000 which he borrowed from her. Sangalang pleaded guilty to cheating and has made $500 restitution to date. He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.