Man jailed 15 months for cheating victims of $20k in hotel room booking scam on Carousell

SINGAPORE - Using numerous accounts he had set up, a scammer posted listings for hotel rooms in Resorts World Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands and Sentosa on Carousell.

At least 20 people contacted him to book the hotel rooms, but Seow Ren Wei did not make any booking for them, cheating them of a total of $23,010.

The 28-year-old was jailed for 15 months on Monday after he pleaded guilty to seven cheating charges. Another 17 charges were taken into consideration during his sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yanying said Seow had posted the listings on Carousell using different accounts to avoid detection of his scam.

“The accused had placed the advertisements despite having no hotel rooms to offer and having no intention to secure any hotel rooms for persons who responded to his listings.” added DPP Tan.

After his victims contacted him to book hotel rooms, Seow agreed to fulfil each booking and asked each of them to make full payment immediately to either of his PayNow accounts.

After receiving the money, Seow would stop responding to the victims’ messages and calls.

At least 20 police reports were lodged against Seow by the victims who were cheated by him between September and November 2021.

“The accused’s acts did not only have adverse financial consequences for the victims. Some of the victims had made room bookings to celebrate important special occasions (for example, wedding, honeymoon), who had to scramble for alternative arrangements at the last minute,” said DPP Tan, adding that Seow has made partial restitution to his victims.

Seow had also approached several victims after they paid for their booking and told them that he needed money to pay cancellation fees incurred by other customers who had booked rooms through him.

He successfully asked these victims to lend him at least $2,000, which has not been repaid, DPP Tan said.

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

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