Jail for man who cheated 17 people of over $1 million while on the run

A man who misappropriated more than $85,000 from his employer in 2008, and cheated 17 victims of more than $1 million while on the run, was finally arrested last year following a check at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino.

Between October 2008 and 2017, police screened data linked to Lee Kam Hong, now 61, such as his Central Provident Fund contributions and his Immigration and Checkpoints Authority departure records. However, it did not yield any results.

It emerged in court that to avoid the police, Lee did not register his actual identity with any banks or hospitals. To enter the RWS casino multiple times, he used another man's NRIC and driving licence .

The court heard that the 67-year-old man, who was not named in court documents seen by The Straits Times, had reported that he lost his wallet in November 2007. It was not mentioned how Lee got hold of his documents.

Lee was sentenced yesterday to a jail term of seven years, one month and two weeks.

He pleaded guilty to 12 charges, including five counts of cheating linked to nearly $570,000 and one count of criminal breach of trust involving more than $85,000.

Another 85 charges for offences such as cheating involving the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.

It emerged in court that to avoid the police, Lee Kam Hong did not register his actual identity with any banks or hospitals. To enter the RWS casino multiple times, he used another man's NRIC and driving licence.

In 2008, Lee was a sales associate for a company known as Manual Auto Enterprise, which dealt with second-hand vehicles and had its office at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium in Outram Road.

On Sept 7 that year, a 50-year-old man identified only as "SP" in court documents contacted Lee as he wanted to buy a Lexus. The man paid a total of $85,274 to Lee.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Hsiao Tien said that while the car was showcased at Manual Auto Enterprise, it was owned by finance company Tai Thong Lee Trading.

She added: "Therefore, the accused was supposed to pay the finance company before ownership could be transferred from the finance company to SP. However, the accused did not pay the finance company.

"Instead, he misappropriated the monies and spent them on his own expenses including gambling."

The DPP said that Lee did not turn up at any police station to assist in investigations and officers were unable to locate him. A police gazette was issued for his arrest some time in October 2008.

While on the run, Lee worked for his girlfriend's vehicle company, SG Carline.

The DPP said that although Lee's girlfriend, a 35-year-old Chinese national, was the firm's registered director, Lee was fully in charge of its daily operations and was its "de facto boss".

 

Between April 2017 and June last year, 17 victims filed police reports stating that they had bought cars from SG Carline but the ownerships were not transferred to them.

DPP Tan said Lee did not transfer any of their payments to finance companies that owned the cars.

Instead, he used a portion of the ill-gotten gains for his personal expenses.

Lee was finally caught on Aug 3 last year when the police conducted a check at the RWS casino and found that he had another man's NRIC and driving licence in his possession.

Lee has made no restitution.

For each count of cheating, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2019, with the headline 'Jail for man who cheated 17 people of over $1 million while on the run'. Print Edition | Subscribe