SINGAPORE - A freelance make-up artiste and beautician who solicited for clients at bars at Orchard Towers area was packed off to jail for three years on Monday (Dec 19) for a series of cheating offences.
Over 11 months between September 2014 and June 2015, Nur Alya Sefira Mohd Hadim committed 187 offences, causing losses of $51,250 to multiple victims. Only $12,559 worth of goods were recovered from pawn shops.
The 31-year-old male cross-dresser, who admitted to 17 charges, had planned his crime in such a way that he was undetectable and evaded arrest for a long time.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Vadivalagan Shanmuga said Nur Alya Sefira's cross dressing habit also did not help when closed-circuit television camera footages were scrutinised by the police.
It was only after tedious investigation that he was finally arrested by Central Narcotics Bureau officers on Jan 26, 2015 during a surprise raid at his registered address where he seldom lives.
Investigation showed that he worked as a social escort at Orchard Towers area in the evenings.
He would steal credit cards from patrons at bars, and also from customers who had engaged his massage services in hotel rooms. The victims included foreign nationals in their 30s and 40s.
The prosecutor said he had also stolen from his doctor when he was visiting the clinic for hormone injections. He filched the 68-year-old's United Overseas Bank credit card when the doctor was at the sink, leaving his other cards untouched on the clinic table.
From Feb 18 to March 27, 2015, he used the stolen UOB card for 71 successful transactions amounting to $12,271. His purchases included mobile phones from Challenger outlets and Planet Telecoms in Serangoon Central.
The court heard that he stole more than one card from individuals in case the cards had small credit limits on them.
He would then use the stolen cards to go on a spending spree to buy mostly luxury goods and for his daily expenses.
After buying jewelleries, he would pawn them and use the cash proceeds for his personal expenditures.
He also admitted that he would sell off items like mobile phones and even gold bars to raise cash for his personal expenses.
Nur Alya Sefira had convictions for cheating and drug-related offences in 2012.
DPP Vadivalagan submitted that there was an abuse of trust, pre-meditation and blatant disregard for the law in this case. He said the accused had used the misappropriated cards as a "personal ATM machine'' as he had taken the money not for any pressing financial need but for his personal lavish expenses.
The remaining 170 charges were taken into consideration.