Man who cheated people of 101 devices in telco subscription scam jailed

SINGAPORE - A man who ran a scam that cheated people out of over $100,000 worth of electronic devices was sentenced to jail and caning for cheating and other offences on Monday (Oct 23).

Ang See Seng pleaded guilty to 20 charges with 145 other charges taken into consideration in sentencing. He and his accomplices cheated some 50 people of of 101 electronic devices worth $106,521 over 11 months from December 2014 to November 2015.

Together with other cheating offences, he received a total of $170,835 worth of goods and services, the court heard.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tow Chew Chi told District Judge Jasvender Kaur that Ang's scam involved convincing people to sign up for mobile subscription plans and obtaining the subsidised devices on his behalf.

His victims would be told that they would receive a payment for their help and would not have to worry about paying the monthly telco bills or other sign-up costs.

However, after handing over the devices, many of the victims found that they were still on the hook for the bills.

DPP Tow said some of these victims, after discovering that they were cheated by Ang, decided to join his scam and cheat other victims using similar methods. He had up to 11 purported accomplices in his cheating scam.

He sometimes communicated the false representations directly or got an accomplice or asked an unsuspecting intermediary to do so.

After receiving the devices from these victims, Ang and some accomplices would use them to buy game credits, thus chalking up further costs on the bills.

The game credits would then be sold online for money.

The victim would receive the bills and be surprised that they had to shoulder the subscription costs and the cost of the game credits despite what they were led to believe.

In an unrelated case, Ang, when he was being arrested at his home in Yishun for possession of methamphetamine or ice, struggled violently and bit the arresting officer, who was trying to handcuff him, on the forearm on May 28, 2016.

In mitigation, Ang's lawyer Alice Tan said her client, who is married with two young daughters, had been under foster care since young. After his release from prison in 2009, he promised to turn over a new leaf when he got married and became a father.

The lawyer said he worked hard for the family, and was faring well at one point, until he fell into desperate times and resorted to committing the cheating offences.

Ang, who had previous convictions for various offences since 2000, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each count of cheating.

For causing hurt to a police officer to deter him from carrying out his duty, he could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined, caned or received a combined punishment.