Jail for serial cheat who scammed blogshop customers and job seekers

A man who was originally given a mandatory treatment order (MTO) for trespassing into female toilets and peeping at women was jailed for two months and two weeks on Friday. -- PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS
A man who was originally given a mandatory treatment order (MTO) for trespassing into female toilets and peeping at women was jailed for two months and two weeks on Friday. -- PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A serial cheat who scammed 30 victims of more than $3,000, luring them mostly by offering bogus jobs and blogshop merchandise, was sentenced to 15 months in jail on Friday.

Janet Tan May Lian devised the schemes after she ran into money problems in March last year. The 35-year-old, who had run a legitimate blogshop on Facebook up to that point, then started to collect payment without delivering the items ordered.

She also advertised non-existent job openings, collected various administrative fees from her victims, and made off with their money.

On Friday, Tan pleaded guilty to five of 35 cheating charges, and had the rest taken into consideration. Her 15-month jail term also included punishment for misappropriating a $1,200 laptop while working as a personal assistant, and stealing $450 while on the job as a part-time cleaner.

The offences were committed between March and September last year. Two further charges, for helping an unlicensed moneylender in 2011, were also considered.

Tan accepted but failed to complete orders made on her blogshop for items including brownies, clothing for children and perfume.

She advertised non-existent employment openings in areas such as private tuition, data entry and flyer distribution. Job seekers were generally required to pay deposits and fees to install the relevant computer software, or for identification passes.

On one occasion, Tan also lied to a blogshop visitor that she would set up a separate online business, and solicited a $300 investment from the victim.

District Judge Low Wee Ping noted that Tan had been convicted and punished in 1999 and 2004 for offences including criminal breach of trust - also involving dishonesty.

He warned that if she still reoffends after serving her latest jail term, she could be punished with corrective training, a tough regime for repeat offenders without earlier release for good behaviour.

For each count of cheating his victims into handing over their money, Tan could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.