Fraudster caused 14 investors to lose over $700,000

Former poly lecturer who ran illegal fund gets five years and four months in jail

A 44-year-old who ran an unlicensed fund management business caused 14 people to lose more than $700,000, with one victim being cheated of $278,000.

Ore Boon Leong, a former polytechnic lecturer, did not apply for a licence because of the many requirements he had to meet.

He managed the illegal fund between 2004 and Feb 11, 2011, after which he continued to collect money from investors.

Instead of investing it, a district court heard yesterday that he used the money to repay the mortgage on his matrimonial home and pay his earlier investors.

Judge Jasvender Kaur jailed him for five years and four months after he admitted to 12 of 38 charges, including criminal breach of trust, cheating, fraudulently using as genuine a forged trading statement and impersonating a public servant.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhas Malhotra, who labelled him a serial offender, told the court Ore quit his job in 2004 to start an investment business dealing in a wide range of products, including Singapore-and United States-listed securities, futures, derivatives and commodities.

He invested his own money as well as funds solicited from friends, and he made a contract with each investor.

Instead of investing it, a district court heard yesterday that he used the money to repay the mortgage on his matrimonial home and pay his earlier investors.

Ore, who ran the fund alone, collected at least $245,000 from five investors between 2004 and 2010, and gave them quarterly portfolio reports.

During the next two years, he misappropriated $452,855 from 13 investors, spending the money on, among other things, his personal expenses and payments to previous investors.

In early 2012, he stopped his reports to the investors, some of whom found out that he was going through a divorce. Several asked to withdraw their investment money.

In July that year, he convinced five investors that his Phillip Futures' trading statement for June 2012 showed he had $1 million and US$76, and claimed he could not withdraw it under an injunction during the divorce proceedings.

The investors, believing their money was safe, did not insist on the return of their money.

DPP Suhas said the trading statement was forged and that Ore had only $10 and US$76 in his trading account.

A year after he was declared bankrupt, he met Mr Lui Kum Sum in March 2014 on WeChat. He misrepresented himself to the victim as operating an investment fund.

Besides claiming he was a trading member individual with the Singapore Stock Exchange, he also showed Mr Lui a "performance report" of a fund of around $2 million dated December 2013. The fund was non-existent.

Mr Lui signed seven contracts with Ore and made nine payments totalling $278,000 between March 2014 and November 2015.

Ore spent all the money.

DPP Suhas, in seeking a jail term of five years and four months, said Ore caused 14 victims to suffer a very heavy financial loss of $730,855 over a prolonged period. He was also a serial offender and took steps to conceal his offences, which were premeditated.

Ore collected two more payments, amounting to $33,000, from Mr Lui while being investigated by the Commercial Affairs Department, the DPP added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2017, with the headline 'Fraudster caused 14 investors to lose over $700,000'. Print Edition | Subscribe