A recalcitrant conman posed as a lawyer and duped two women into handing him a total of more than $23,000.
Antonio Aromin Wong, 67, was sentenced yesterday to one year and three months' jail after pleading guilty to six counts of cheating involving $11,700. Twelve other similar charges linked to the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.
The court heard that Wong had been in and out of jail from 1993 to 2000 for offences including cheating.
He got to know one of his latest victims, Madam Audrey Phang Sok Kian, 48, through a mutual friend in April 2016 and found out that she was then facing some legal issues involving the estate of her late husband, Mr Loh Chee Kong.
Wong lied to her, claiming to be a qualified lawyer, and offered to represent her in the matter.
Between May and August that year, Wong repeatedly asked her to transfer cash to him for purported legal services.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Woon Yee told District Judge Kessler Soh: "To support his false representation that he was a qualified lawyer... the accused reported... throughout this period via text messages that he had represented her in court proceedings, when he in fact had not."
Madam Phang fell for his lies and transferred $10,200 to him. Wong used the cash to pay for his holidays and settle his debts.
Court documents did not state how his offences came to light, but she alerted the police on Sept 28, 2016. Officers arrested him the next day.
Wong absconded while out on bail and continued with his criminal ways by using a similar method to cheat another woman last year.
DPP Lim said that last July, Ms Song Li Siah, 56, went to People's Park Centre near the State Courts and spotted Wong, who was dressed like a lawyer. Court documents did not state what he was wearing at the time.
When approached, Wong claimed to be a lawyer and offered to help Ms Song in her court case involving a salary dispute between her and her former employer.
At Bugis Junction shopping mall a few days later, Wong asked her for $1,500 for "legal fees" and duped her into handing over the money. Ms Song lodged a police report on Aug 5 last year.
Wong, who was unrepresented, pleaded for leniency in court yesterday. For each count of cheating, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.