Man who allegedly cheated woman of over $97k in love scam handed 17 charges

SINGAPORE - A man allegedly used a fictitious online persona to befriend a woman, whom he later deceived into transferring to him over $97,000.

Muhammad Sharul Anoor, 30, was handed 17 cheating charges on Friday.

According to charge sheets, Sharul allegedly deceived the woman into believing that she was talking to a “Melcolm Tan”, an oil and bunker trader in need of funds.

The 34-year-old woman is said to have been duped into transferring a total of $97,510 to Sharul on multiple occasions between August 2022 and March 2023.

Sharul, who was arrested on Wednesday, said in court that he has engaged a defence lawyer and that he intends to claim trial to the charges.

The court heard no restitution has been made thus far.

The police said on Friday that Sharul is believed to have used the money for daily expenses and to repay his loans.

According to the police’s midyear scam statistics for 2023, there were 22,339 scam cases reported from January to June, a 64.5 per cent increase from the 13,576 cases during the same period in 2022.

However, the total amount that victims lost in the first half of 2023 dipped slightly to $334.5 million, from $342.1 million during the same period in 2022.

Internet love scams were the seventh scam of concern in the first six months of 2023, with 446 cases reported, in which at least $25.9 million was lost.

To avoid falling victim to Internet love scams, the police advise the public not to send money to people they do not know well, especially if they have not met them in person.

“Contact the police immediately if you receive any message or call from someone claiming to be in trouble overseas and urgently needs you to send money,” said the police, adding that people should also inform the authorities if anyone tries to extort money from them.

Sharul’s case will be next heard on Dec 8.

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