Visa scam: Serial cheat gets two years' jail

A 47-year-old woman has been sentenced to two years in jail for tricking 94 Bangladeshi workers into paying her for help in finding work in Canada.

Mumina Jahabar never had any intention of applying for a Canadian visa or work permit for them. Instead, she pocketed the $57,350 she received.

Yesterday, the mother of one pleaded guilty to 15 counts of cheating involving $10,470 between 2012 and August 2013. Another 79 similar charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yonghui said that in August 2013, Mumina was introduced to marine trades worker Al-Amin Md through his friends, who told him she was helping workers in Singapore to apply for Canadian visas and work permits. She lied to Al-Amin that she would apply for a visa and work permit on his behalf, in return for a payment of $550.

But after the money was transferred to her POSB account, Al-Amin did not get the visa or work permit, nor did he get his money back. He made a police report in July last year.

It was later discovered that she had cheated other Bangladeshi workers in the same way. In July 2012, in the wake of more police reports lodged against her, police seized a paper bag containing photocopies of passport details of nine Bangladeshi workers at her home. When confronted, she admitted to collecting $750 from each of them.

Mumina was allowed to defer the sentence until next Wednesday. Bail of $15,000 was allowed. She could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2015, with the headline 'Visa scam: Serial cheat gets two years' jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe