SINGAPORE - A man duped his victims into believing that he was a broker for car parts and expensive watches and an expert in the import of cars and spare parts.
On Monday (Aug 28), he was sentenced to three years' jail for cheating and criminal breach of trust.
Teo Swee Kiang, 42, admitted to five charges of cheating three people, with five other charges, including one of criminal breach of trust, taken into consideration for sentencing.
No restitution has been made for the total amount of $25,090 involved.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Alexandria Shamini Joseph said Mr Lim Li, who came to know Teo through a mutual friend on Dec 13, 2015, expressed his interest when Teo told him via messaging platform WhatsApp that he was able to get two Rolex GMT Master 2 watches from a certain seller.
Mr Lim agreed to buy the watches at $9,500 each, and handed over $3,000 to Teo as deposit on Dec 30 that year.
On Feb 4, 2016, Mr Lim made a further payment of a $2,890 cheque to Teo for the watches. Teo cashed it the next day.
Between Feb 12 and March 21, 2016, when Mr Lim asked him many times for updates concerning the date of delivery of the watches, Teo made various excuses.
Teo also declined the victim's offer to meet the alleged seller directly to pay him the remainder of the purchase price and collect the watches.
Teo eventually stopped replying to Mr Lim's messages. He used the money to pay off his debts to unlicensed moneylenders and for his personal expenses.
Teo conned a second victim, Mr Willy Tan, into believing that he could get him a Porsche SC911 car.
On Jan 4, 2016, Teo made Mr Tan believe that he had a used 1983 Porsche car which he could import from Europe and deliver to him for $12,000.
Two days later, Teo went to Mr Tan's office where Mr Tan handed over a $5,000 cash cheque as deposit for the car.
Between Jan 11 and Feb 20, 2016, Mr Tan asked Teo to send pictures of the car, the import documents and the estimated date of delivery to him, but Teo was evasive and eventually stopped replying to Mr Tan.
In January 2015, he met an Indonesian, Ms Yohanes Thomson - whom he got to know earlier through social media platform Instagram - for the first time at the Singapore Motor Show.
Ms Yohanes told him that her father's car had been damaged in an accident, and sought his help to get spare parts for it. He told her that he would deliver a Land Cruiser 200 Urban package body kit, which he knew to be false.
On Jan 26, she remitted $1,800 to him for the body kit.
She asked him numerous times for updates on the delivery, but he made excuses concerning the delay.
He also deceived her on two other occasions, in February and March 2015. She remitted $1,950 to him for a Suzuki Wagon R+ gearbox transmission, piggy back and turbo kit, and $1,600 for a Toyota Cruiser body kit.
When asked by Ms Yohanes for updates, Teo made numerous excuses for the delay.
The maximum penalty for cheating is 10 years' jail and a fine on each charge.