Sisters-in-law jailed for charity scam

Khamisah Shaik Mohamed, 35, who was convicted, on 5 Dec 2013. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Khamisah Shaik Mohamed, 35, who was convicted, on 5 Dec 2013. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Santha Devi Lingam, 34, who was convicted on 5 Dec 2013. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Santha Devi Lingam, 34, who was convicted on 5 Dec 2013. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

She got the fake donation books for her charity scam printed in Malaysia so no one would spill the beans to the authorities here.

Then, within two weeks in May, Santha Devi Lingam, 34, cheated 62 donors of $855, while her sister-in-law, Khamisah Shaik Mohamed, 35, who was also in on the scam, conned 17 victims of a total of $170.

On Thursday, Santha was sentenced to six months in jail while Khamisah will spend the next two months behind bars. District Judge Lee Poh Choo said that the duo had "taken advantage of the public generosity and kindness and gone blatantly door-to-door to cheat".

The court heard that Santha came up with the idea of pretending to be a donation collector after seeing such volunteers at a shopping centre.

She roped in Khamisah and the pair decided that their "cover" should be the Willing Hearts charity organisation. Santha then used a computer at an Internet cafe in Ang Mo Kio to design the receipt booklets and a donation collector certificate in each of their names.

The court heard that each of them worked separately and would show the donation collector certificate and identify themselves as volunteers with Willing Hearts to members of the public.

Once a donation was received, they would list the donor's details in the butt of the receipt booklet and issue the forged receipt.

They were nabbed after a resident called Willing Hearts to check on the donation drive. The charity body called the police, and both women were arrested at a block of flats in Ang Mo Kio.

Both pleaded guilty on Thursday to cheating their victims while Santha also admitted to committing forgery.

khush@sph.com.sg