When he was given some fake currency notes, Anson Tan Chin Siang did not alert the police but instead tried to use a $10,000 note that he suspected was also a forgery at a money changer. When that failed, the 23-year-old debt collector tried to pay for a gold chain using the same note. He was found out and the police were called.
Yesterday, he was sentenced to four years and four months in jail. He is also facing six strokes of the cane and a fine of $3,000. In addition, he has been disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for 2½ years for traffic offences related to a separate matter.
He had pleaded guilty last month to charges including cheating, being in possession of a weapon and attempting to use a counterfeit note as genuine. He had also admitted to two drug-related charges, inconsiderate driving, as well as driving without a licence and insurance.
The court heard that Tan had received $14,000 from one Mr Fu Long in 2016 in the course of his debt recovery business. He discovered that four of the five notes he received were fake as they bore the same serial number. The four notes were in the $1,000 denomination. Tan suspected that the remaining $10,000 note was also a forgery.
After confronting Mr Fu, Tan went to a money changer and tried but failed to change the fake $10,000 note to genuine notes in smaller denominations.
He decided to use the fake note again in October 2017 as he was facing financial difficulties. He went on online marketplace Carousell and contacted Mr Ronald Wong Yew Loon, 36, to buy a gold chain from the older man for $13,338.
They met in front of Grand Hyatt Singapore hotel in Scotts Road on Oct 17 that year and Tan passed Mr Wong a red packet containing the counterfeit $10,000 note. Mr Wong suspected the note was not genuine and later lodged a police report.
Tan had tried to fool another Carousell seller earlier that year. On March 5, 2017, he met Mr Chng Eng Hwee, 69, in Bishan to buy a Rolex watch for $11,300. He told Mr Chng that he would pay for it via Internet banking transfer.
He showed the seller a screenshot of the purported cash transfer and duped him into handing over the watch. Mr Chng alerted the police the next day when he realised that he had not received the sum.
Tan pawned the watch for $8,500 two days after collecting it. The watch and $8,300 of the cash were later recovered. Tan said he had used $200 for personal expenses.