Man posed as female prostitute in online scam

Amer pleaded guilty to 10 charges of cheating. ST GRAPHICS
Amer pleaded guilty to 10 charges of cheating. ST GRAPHICSPHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

A storeman who posed as a prostitute online, then scammed would-be clients out of their money, was jailed for eight weeks yesterday.

Muhammad Amer Hamzah Mohammadi, 28, conned a total of $2,795 out of 46 victims, who transferred money into his POSB account, believing they would receive the sexual services of a Malay woman.

Another eight were duped into paying him a total of $330 for items which he would post for sale online but never deliver. He has since made full restitution.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Vincent Ong said Amer cheated his victims between the end of 2013 and July last year. He created accounts on social networks like Tagged and chatrooms like www.alamak.com, on which he posed as a "Malay lady'' offering sexual services for $60. He also posted his WeChat ID on the sites.

He would arrange to meet clients - usually near Bedok Central - after they made full payment via electronic transfer to a POSB account at a nearby teller machine.

However, he would then cease communication immediately.

In May last year, he also decided to make a quick buck by setting up a Facebook account, posing as a woman selling Bluetooth devices for motorbike helmets for $30 a set. He posted an advertisement on a Facebook group called "Jual Beli Barang Motor Area Singapore'".

The victims would place orders through private messages on Facebook. He would then direct them to make full payment to him via bank transfer to the POSB account. His deactivated the Facebook account after cheating a few customers to prevent them from tracing him.

One victim lodged a police report on May 27 last year.

Amer pleaded guilty to 10 charges of cheating and 44 others were considered during sentencing. He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each count.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2015, with the headline 'Man posed as female prostitute in online scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe