SINGAPORE - A former teacher told his girlfriend that he needed money as capital for "investments" and duped her into handing over cash totalling more than $178,000.
Gary Won Han Kiat, 35, who taught from 2011 to 2013, was sentenced to two years and a month's jail on Tuesday (Feb 12).
Won, who is now jobless, pleaded guilty to 18 counts of cheating. He committed the offences between 2015 and 2017.
Thirty- eight other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that his relationship with receptionist Leong Shi Min, 26, lasted two years.
The Straits Times understands that they are no longer together.
The pair first met via messaging application WeChat in 2015 and later became an item.
Won lied to Ms Leong, claiming to be a contractor, and on Oct 23 that year, he asked her for $4,000 on the pretext that he needed the funds as capital for work investments.
She believed him and transferred the money to his bank account.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jessie Lim said Won had no intention of investing the money in work-related investments.
Instead, he purchased $3,950 worth of chips at the Resorts World Sentosa casino the next day and gambled away the money.
He continued to ask her for more money after this, the court heard.
DPP Lim said: "In all instances, the accused deceived the complainant... by stating that he required the sums for his work investments when, in reality, they were used to fund his gambling habit.
"Some time around Nov 19, 2015, having dipped into her personal savings to deliver moneys to the accused, the complainant then resorted to asking her mother for help when the accused asked for more (cash)."
Ms Leong's mother agreed to help. The older woman even resorted to cashing out her personal insurance policy so that she could pass the money to her daughter.
Ms Leong would then hand over the funds to Won.
Court documents did not reveal how his offences came to light, but the relationship ended around May 2017.
She alerted the police on Nov 2 that year, saying Won had cheated her of cash on numerous occasions in the course of their relationship.
DPP Lim told the court that Won had since made restitution of more than $12,000.
On Tuesday, she urged District Judge John Ng to sentence the former teacher to two years and three months' jail.
She stressed that the case involved a large sum of money and that Won had abused Ms Leong's trust.
Defence lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy pleaded for a sentence of a year and eight months' jail, telling the court that Won had pleaded guilty to his offences at an early opportunity.
Won was offered bail of $20,000.
He has to surrender himself at the State Courts on Feb 18 to begin serving his sentence.