SINGAPORE - A man who cheated three victims, including a childhood friend, of about $102,000 was jailed for two years on Tuesday (Feb 2).
Karuppiah Kaneshan, 56, pleaded guilty to three counts of cheating and had the remaining seven, including failing to report his change of address, taken into consideration.
He conned a Vietnamese woman, Ms Thai Thi Hong Hau, into giving him US$40,000 and US$6,000 as "processing fees" and "taxes" respectively in 2011 by deceiving her into believing that he could provide US$10 million as funding for her project.
He told the 33-year-old businesswoman that he was a representative from International Finance Corporation Australia allegedly based in Australia.
When he heard that she needed US$10 million to finance a project in Vietnam, he assured her that he was able to provide funding for her project.
On July 20, 2011, they entered into a memorandum of understanding which required her to pay him US$40,000 in "processing fees" to "activate" the transfer of funds. She transferred the amount to him the next day.
The court heard that Karuppiah neither had the means nor intention to provide funding. He needed money then after he incurred losses in horse-racing and soccer betting.
Karuppiah also cheated an acquaintance Tan Hung Yeoh, 58, of $20,000 in April 2004 by making him believe that he could open two bank accounts on his behalf at ABN Amro Private Banking.
He did not apply for any bank account on Mr Tan's behalf. When Mr Tan asked for the return of his money on multiple occasions, Karuppiah claimed each time that he would do so but did not.
The third victim, Mr Ramachandran T.S. Nayar, 54, was Karuppiah's childhood friend.
In January 2013, Karuppiah met Mr Ramachandran and said he had an investment in a coffee shop business that promised good returns. But Mr Ramachandran was not interested then.
Two months later, he met Mr Ramachandran again and told him that he would receive returns of $58,000 on the 28th of every month just by pumping in $50,000 into the coffee shop business.
Karuppiah said that from the returns, Mr Ramachandran would have to pay $28,000 each month to cover the rental of the coffee shop and make a profit of $30,000 each month. The victim believed him and decided to invest in the coffee shop.
The victim handed over $15,000 as his share in the investment on April 8, 2013. Karuppiah used the money to gamble, the court heard.
When the victim did not receive any returns from the alleged coffee shop investment, he asked for the return of his money. Karuppiah told him that he would return but did not do so.
When police arrested Karuppiah at Block 256, Yishun Ring Road, on Nov 23, 2014, he tried to flee but fell down, and was apprehended.
He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.