Jobless man jailed for cheating $16k out of women with car crash lie

SINGAPORE - A jobless man cheated seven women out of $16,000 by falsely claiming he had been hurt in a car accident caused by their conversations while he texted at the wheel.

Lim Syu Kuan, 24 - described in an Institute of Mental Health report as a pathological gambler - met his victims on dating app OkCupid, and backed up his lies by sending them pictures of a crashed black car and a bruised right thigh, while saying he needed money to compensate the other driver.

After being made to feel that they were responsible for the accident, they would then transfer the money to Lim.

However his guilt trips landed him a trip to jail on Monday (July 9) when he was sentenced to 27 weeks on six charges of cheating with another 17 taken into consideration.

The court heard that Lim set up two accounts on OkCupid in January 2016, and told his victims he was from a wealthy family and in line to take over his father's construction and home renovation business.

While chatting up the women, he would text them to lie that he had just been in a road accident but could not make a police report or claim insurance because he had crashed his father's car and did not want him to find out about it.

The court heard that the women were "successfully manipulated" and Lim "preyed on (their) guilt".

One said she felt that she had indirectly caused the accident and had no qualms about lending him the money.

He also asked for more money from some victims to cover costs to repair his car, food and lodging. 

However, this actually went on his personal expenses, including gambling and paying off debts.

The court heard that he lulled the women into a false sense of security by providing personal details such as his passport and the name and address of his father's company.

He met one of the victims at a rented apartment in Amaranda Gardens paid for by his mother and lied that it was his family home.

In truth, he had been kicked out by his father previously.

Lim made full restitution to all his victims.

In mitigation, his lawyers, Mr Sunil Sudheesan and Ms Diana Ngiam, pointed to his pathological gambling disorder and his inability to hold a permanent job due to his attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

They also produced two letters that one of Lim's victims wrote to Lim and his father to express her willingness to forgive him.

For every count of cheating, Lim could have been jailed for up to  10 years and liable to a fine.