SINGAPORE - A 55-year-old serial scammer was jailed for 10 years on Tuesday (March 6) for cheating 22 elderly people that were less educated and more gullible of about $1.74 million.
Aisha Pari Mohamed Ayub's victims had lost between $1,000 and $225,900 each. No restitution has been made.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lim Kah Hwee said: "Such predatory behaviour is abhorrent and cannot be condoned, and the punishment on the accused must reflect society's abhorrence of such conduct. Singapore is also facing a rapidly ageing population, and we are obliged to look after the elderly section of our society."
Of the 381 charges she faced, Aisha was convicted of 20 - 18 of cheating and two of abetting in the forgery of a Subordinate Courts' letter and a letter from the Monetary Authority of Singapore - on Jan 19.
"The accused preyed on elderly victims who are less educated, more gullible and more easily taken in by the accused's deceptions," said DPP Lim.
In her scam, Aisha claimed that she had inherited some money from her deceased father in Pakistan from the sale of his land worth $7.4 million.
She told her victims she had to pay the authorities in Pakistan and Singapore first to receive her so-called inheritance.
Aisha then asked them for money and vowed to repay the loan with interest as a "courtesy gift" or "token of appreciation" after receiving her inheritance.
During earlier court proceedings, DPP Lim said Aisha had hatched the plan in October 2010 while she was running a clothing shop at the Golden Landmark mall.
She began telling everyone of her supposed inheritance in Pakistan and told her victims that if they loan her money, they could make donations or take their parents on a pilgrimage with the "courtesy gift".
She roped in one Ms Aldebab, also known as Ms Saripah Abu Bakar, to source for potential victims. Ms Aldebab, 65, was not aware that Aisha had lied about the inheritance.
She only got to know the younger woman earlier that year when she placed her artwork in Aisha's shop for sale.
After her arrest on Dec 15, 2011, Aisha absconded and did not report to the Commercial Affairs Department for her bail extension.
She came up with another tall tale before being arrested again in March last year.
This time round, she told her victims that she was entitled to receive money from the sale of her matrimonial home in Saudi Arabia arising from her marriage annulment.
Aisha used some of the money to gamble at the Marina Bay Sands casino, said DPP Lim.
She also used some of the cash obtained from fresh victims to make partial repayments to earlier ones to induce them to deliver more money to her.
For each count of cheating, she could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.