Education centre MD admits to cheating offences involving more than $340k

SINGAPORE - The managing director of an education centre used various pseudonyms and e-mail addresses to dupe seven companies into delivering goods worth more than $340,000 altogether.

An Dae Kee, who was with the Seoul Education Centre in Tanglin Shopping Centre, did not pay for any of the goods, which were all bought on credit.

A district court heard that to cheat his victims, he pretended to be a representative of other organisations such as education group Eton House and integrated lifestyle firm Amara Holdings.

The victims included electronics retailer Best Denki as well as telcos Singtel and StarHub.

The 38-year-old South Korean pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday (Aug 28) to four cheating charges involving nearly $180,000.

He also admitted to two drug-related charges and one count of possessing a knife.

Another 14 charges, including cheating offences linked to the remaining amount, will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Hsiao Tien said that between March and May last year, An submitted to his victims purchase orders for electronic goods and devices on credit terms.

He then negotiated the orders via e-mails, phone calls and text messages.

The victims, after agreeing to the terms, would deliver the goods to An. But the court heard that on most occasions, the items were delivered to couriers whom he had engaged.

"The accused did not pay for any of the items which were purchased on credit," said the DPP.

The police, after receiving reports from the victims, carried out an operation on May 3 last year to arrest An in a room at the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel in Orchard Road.

He was found to be in possession of items that included a foldable knife and a clear glass tube which was later found to be stained with substances, including illegal narcotic methamphetamine.

An was taken to Tanglin Police Division where he refused to provide officers with a sample of his urine.

Finally, on May 9 last year, he agreed to give a hair sample that was found to have traces of methamphetamine.

DPP Tan told the court he had made a partial restitution of more than $77,000.

She urged District Judge John Ng to sentence him to at least four years and three months in jail, saying his cheating offences were premeditated.

Defence lawyer Nigel Sim pleaded for his client to be sentenced to two years and nine months in jail.

He told the court An had been "deep in debt" and had cheated "out of desperation".

The South Korean is expected to be sentenced on Sept 6. For each count of cheating, he can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.