Serial conwoman jailed again after committing cheating offences involving more than $900,000

SINGAPORE - A serial offender is back in jail for cheating, for the third time in eight years, after scamming her victims of more than $900,000, the largest amount she has conned so far.

Kaveena Jaya Kumar, 42, "had difficulty staying out of crime" and had "no qualms about reoffending", said Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Zhi Hao.

She was last released in October 2015 and returned to her old ways in August 2016.

Between 2016 and 2018, she cheated 95 victims of cash totalling more than $900,000.

The Singaporean, who appeared in a district court via video-link on Monday (Dec 21), was sentenced to six years and four months' jail after she pleaded guilty to 35 counts of cheating involving more than $600,000.

The recalcitrant offender also admitted that she had misappropriated over $15,000 which a woman had entrusted to her.

Another 154 cheating charges involving the remaining amount were taken into consideration during sentencing.

To earn some money after her release from prison in October 2015, Kaveena bought admission tickets to local attractions from a travel agency before reselling them on online marketplace Carousell.

The DPP said that the profit she earned at the time was "marginal". She then decided to buy the tickets in bulk from travel agencies but not make any payment. She would then sell the tickets and keep the full amount received.

The court heard that she duped the travel agencies by handing over cheques from her personal bank account. Kaveena, however, had no intention to honour these cheques.

She also fooled the companies by sending over screenshots of purported bank transfers scheduled for later dates.

She was caught and charged in court on Dec 3, 2016. She continued to reoffend after she was bailed out a week later.

Around April 2017, Kaveena owed unlicensed moneylenders cash totalling some $100,000.

To pay her debts, she decided to start a flower arrangement and events management business called The Royal Petals.

DPP Tan said: "As she 'owed a lot of money' and was unable to repay her debts, the accused decided to use The Royal Petals as a front to perpetrate a flight ticket scam instead."

In late 2017, she lied to her customers, claiming that she could obtain flight tickets at prices lower than those offered by travel agencies.

She duped them into paying her even though she had no cheap flight tickets to sell.

To sustain her scam, Kaveena used monies she received from customers to buy flight tickets at full price and fulfil some of the orders. This would then entice customers to either make further purchases or invite their loved ones to buy tickets from her.

The DPP said: "To convince her customers that her sale of flight tickets was legitimate, the accused would issue invoices and letters to confirm the purchases on the letterhead of The Royal Petals.

"The victims only realised they were cheated when they sought to verify their departure details with the airline companies or when they arrived at the airports to check-in, and they were informed by the airlines that no booking had been made in their name."

Kaveena eventually became uncontactable to all her customers. She was caught again and remanded for investigations on June 7, 2018. Her bail was revoked 11 days later. She has since managed to refund more than $45,000 to her victims.

The court heard that Kaveena was sentenced to 26 months' jail in April 2012 over nine counts of cheating involving more than $55,000.

In April 2014, she was sentenced to three years' jail after she was convicted of five cheating charges linked to over $73,000.

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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