SINGAPORE - A serial cheat who re-offended about 20 times with a car rental scam while on bail has been jailed a total of 30 months, adding to the 30 months he is already serving for a home rental scam and cyber fraud.
Vincent Tan Boon Leng, 38, was described by the prosecution as a serial cheat, for committing motor insurance fraud, car rental scams, credit card fraud, home rental scams and cyber fraud.
"At its core, chicanery writ large underlies his assorted scams. Put simply, (Tan) defrauded many victims through multiple scams, including the machinations of an organised crime syndicate," said District Judge Shawn Ho in decision grounds released on Thursday (13 Oct).
He noted Tan had the "effrontery" to re-offend just three days after he was sentenced last December (2015) for a separate set of frauds.
Tan had then been allowed to remain on bail for three months to attend to personal matters and commence his sentence in March (2016).
In the current round, Tan had pleaded guilty to ten counts of motor insurance fraud and car rental scams, and agreed to have 24 other charges factored for sentencing purposes.
In the car rental scam he sourced for victims through online advertising on Gumtree, Carousel and Facebook and even used a victim to lure other victims.
"To add sheen to his sham, he set up a sole proprietorship under his fiancee's name," noted the judge.
Tan returned $4,400 as partial restitution for a total loss of $14,500 by the victims.
In the motor insurance fraud cases, he was part of an organised criminal syndicate between 2011 and 2013, that claimed a total of $153,437.41 involving multiple victims who paid out $23,052. No restitution was made. Tan procured vehicles for staged accidents, posed as the phantom driver and submitted false accident statements.
Tan's lawyer Troy Yeo in mitigation pointed out he made "very little money" from the motor insurance fraud as he was debt-ridden and desperate. Tan, a father of three children including an infant daughter, said he aimed to change for the better.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stacey Anne Fernandez argued a deterrent sentence was warranted, calling for five consecutive sentences in relation to the jail terms meted out for each charge.
She pointed out two of the accidents involved real collisions on public roads with unsuspecting drivers, which endangered public safety and this was an aggravating factor.
DJ Ho noted Tan had been previously served 27 months for cheating in 2002 and 14 months for trademark and copyright related offences in 2006.
He added, among other things, that "there is a pressing public interest to deter motor insurance fraud to keep a lid on rising insurance premiums and to protect the wider public from suffering financially."
He sentenced Tan to between seven and eight months jail per charge for the insurance fraud charges. For the car rental scam, he imposed jail terms of between four to five months per charge. The judge ordered five of the ten sentences to run consecutively leading to a total term of 30 months in jail.
He ruled that the 30 month jal term start when his current 30 months jail term expires, "to ensure that the ends of justice are met."
Tan is appealing the against the sentence.