Serial cheat sentenced to 7 years of preventive detention

Not long after his release from prison for cheating, Mohamed Yaacop Ali conned an acquaintance by making him believe that he could trade in his old cellphones for new ones at a good price.

The part-time cleaner also forged a winning 4-D lottery ticket and sold it to a security guard for $7,000.

Yesterday, the 62-year-old was sentenced to seven years of preventive detention after pleading guilty to the two offences.

The court heard that Yaacop had bought a 4-D ticket with the number 9473 on July 10. The next day, the winning number for the first prize turned out to be 4973.

Having missed winning the first prize, he planned to forge the winning ticket for July 11. He bought another 4-D ticket, with the number 4973, on July 13 for the July 18 draw. He erased the draw date from ticket 4973 and changed it to July 11.

At a warehouse in Tai Seng Drive on July 14, he told security guard Lim Phang Eng that he had won the first prize for the draw on July 11. He further said the forged ticket was worth $10,000.

Yaacop sold the ticket to Mr Lim for $7,000 after claiming that he did not know how to get to the Singapore Pools headquarters to collect his winnings, and that he needed money urgently for Hari Raya.

Mr Lim found out it was a forged ticket when he went to Singapore Pools on July 15 to claim the prize money.

In the cellphone cheating case, the court heard that Mr Muhammad Shahid Sazali first met Yaacop at National University Hospital in August when Yaacop was hospitalised with Mr Shahid's father.

Yaacop told them that he worked for M1 and could trade in mobile phones for new Samsung phones at a very low price. They agreed to trade in Mr Shahid's and his sister's cellphones for Samsung phones.

Mr Shahid met Yaacop at the hospital on Aug 20 and they went to Tampines Mall.

After taking the two phones, worth a total of $200, and $200 cash from Mr Shahid, Yaacop told him to wait for him at McDonald's.

After three hours, Mr Shahid went to the M1 store and discovered that Yaacop was not employed there. He had, in fact , left for Johor.

Yaacop, a father of three, had been convicted seven times for cheating.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2015, with the headline 'Serial cheat sentenced to 7 years of preventive detention'. Print Edition | Subscribe