70-year-old jailed 21/2 years for cheating

A man who told a woman he could help her with the paperwork to buy a condominium unit, then duped her out of $163,000, was sentenced to 2½ years in jail yesterday.

Dean Edward alias Mohammad Noh Abdullah, 70, conned Ms Fan Por Lian, 59, into handing over the money as partial payment for a unit at The Peak in Pasir Panjang in 2013. He admitted to five cheating charges involving a total of $82,800 and had 12 similar charges taken into consideration.

A district court heard that Ms Fan got to know Edward through a friend. She agreed when he offered to help her do all the paperwork to buy the unit at The Peak.

Investigations showed that she handed to him various sums of money via cash cheques.

She lodged a police report against him in January last year. She alleged that Edward had, on the pretext of being a lawyer, promised to help her with the paperwork to buy the condominium.

No restitution has been made.

Edward's lawyer, Mr Louis Joseph, said in his written mitigation plea that his client, a divorcee and a part-time consultant litigation clerk at various law firms, is providing financial support to his partner, a divorcee with two sons, and his family.

He said his client, who suffers from high blood pressure, severe asthma and migraine, did not expressly say he was a lawyer.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew said this did not matter, and called for a 34-month sentence.

Edward, who was allowed to start his sentence on April 15, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each cheating charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2016, with the headline '70-year-old jailed 21/2 years for cheating'. Print Edition | Subscribe