Jobless man conned dealer into handing over car

He also tried to buy a $450k Lamborghini despite having less than $100 in the bank

A jobless man tried to buy a $450,000 Lamborghini when he had less than $100 in his bank account. He also managed to dupe a used-car dealer into handing over a Land Rover without paying a cent.

Wong Cheng Rui, 26, was sentenced to one week in jail and a $15,000 fine yesterday. He is out on $20,000 bail, pending his appeal against the sentence.

He admitted deceiving Mr Xu Yongsheng, 46, owner of Sheng Auto, in Bukit Batok Crescent on Feb 18 last year.

The court heard last month that Wong had contacted salesman Lim Chun Shen, 27, the day before to express interest in buying a Lamborghini advertised online. He offered a price of $450,000 which was accepted.

The next day, he went to the company to view the car and a deal was struck. Initially, Wong said he would be making full payment in cash, claiming that a friend would arrive with the money, but the friend never turned up.

Later that day, Wong offered to pay in part by electronic transfer and partly by cheque. Mr Xu accepted the offer.

Wong then used the company's computer on the pretext of executing electronic transfers of the money. He told Mr Xu he would transfer a total of $347,000 in four separate tranches.

He showed Mr Xu snapshots of a screen on an HSBC i-banking system, purportedly indicating a transfer of each amount.

Wong then issued Mr Xu a cheque for $103,000, telling him to cash it on Feb 23.

Investigations later showed Wong had only $80 in his HSBC Premier account on Feb 18, and $64 on Feb 23 that year.

Wong wanted to take the Lamborghini immediately, but could not do so as he did not have the necessary insurance for the supercar.

As it was Chinese New Year's Eve, Mr Xu agreed to loan him a Land Rover, which had to be returned on Feb 23.

When Mr Xu tried to cash the cheque, it bounced. None of the $347,000 appeared in his bank account. He made a police report.

Wong was arrested the next day at Woodlands Checkpoint.

Two other cheating charges were considered.

Wong could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined for cheating.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Jobless man conned dealer into handing over car'. Print Edition | Subscribe