SINGAPORE - An owner of a renovation firm cheated his clients of more than $200,000 and used the money to gamble in a casino.
A district court heard that Mohamad Farhan Mohamad Salleh, 31, sole proprietor of Nouveau Frontiere, gambled from November 2013 to April last year and neglected his business.
During this period, he continued to receive orders for renovation services by telling his victims that he would be able to carry out the renovation services when he had no intention of doing so as he wanted the money for gambling.
Of the $216,291 he cheated from eight victims, he made partial restitution of $22,000 to one of them.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ang Siok Chen said the victims had applied for bank loans and handed varying sums of money to Farhan.
She said Farhan used his 21-year-old cousin's identity card to enter Resorts World Sentosa casino to gamble between June and July last year as he was under a self-exclusion order.
On Thursday, Farhan was sentenced to 27 months' jail and fined $6,000 after he pleaded guilty to three charges each of cheating and under the Casino Control Act.
If he cannot pay the fines, he will serve a default sentence of three weeks' jail.
His lawyer G. Dinagaran said his client had a gambling problem and intends to seek treatment and enrol in religious classes to curb his urge to gamble, after his release from prison.
He said Farhan became the father of a baby boy recently and his wife is unemployed.
Among the aggravating factors highlighted by Ms Ang were the substantial losses suffered by the victims and Farhan's previous conviction for criminal breach of trust in 2011.
She said it was quite clear he had embarked on this cheating scheme with much premeditation and deliberation.
District Judge John Ng, who took eight other charges into consideration, said it would mean the world to his family and his son if he keeps his promise to change.
"I hope that.. because you have a new family, a child...it should provide enough motivation for you to take the straight and narrow path,'' he added.
Farhan could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge of cheating. For the casino case, he could have been fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to three years per charge.