Teen gets probation for cheating victims into buying, renting luxury bags

SINGAPORE - A young teen mother was placed on 24 months' probation on Monday for cheating her victims into selling and renting out luxury handbags online.

Sharin Lim Zhi Ning, 17, had faced 11 charges of cheating and one criminal breach of trust of a Chloe bag. She pleaded guilty earlier this month to four charges with the rest taken into consideration. The total amount involved was $3,750.

A community court heard that on July 10 one of the victims, Ms Maria Irene Zafe Evangelista, found a user online who was selling a Louis Vuitton bag (LV). The seller - Lim - agreed to sell the bag to her for $600 and told her to transfer $300 to a POSB account as a deposit. After Ms Evangelista had done so, she failed to get the bag.

On the same day, another victim, Ms Lee Chui Kuen, was conned of $450 after she agreed to buy two LV bags from Lim at $1,700.

Two days later, Lim cheated Ms Anizah Liddelow into transferring $350 into her bank account after agreeing to sell her an LV bag for $1,000.

Earlier on May 27, Ms Marshida Ismail saw online that a user named "Clare'' was renting out an LV and a Prada bag. She expressed interest and Clare agreed to rent out the bags at $300 a month.

Ms Marshida transferred $300 to a POSB account belonging to Lim's boyfriend. Lim had used the account without her boyfriend's knowledge. She had no intention to rent out the bags.

To date, Lim has made restitution of $600 to three other victims. She had used the money to pay for her daily expenses and for her abortion in July the same year.

District Judge Lim Keng Yeow told the single mother that the offences she had committed were serious but he was prepared to give her a chance of being placed on probation.

He said he expects to see her fully fulfil her responsibility as a mother, move on and live a responsible and law-abiding life. He said he would not hesitate to send her to reformative training if she breached any of the conditions of probation or re-offend.

Her parents, who are divorced and the mother's partner were each bonded for $5,000 to ensure her good behaviour.

Lim has to do 180 hours of community service and remain indoors between 10pm and 6am.

The maximum penalty for cheating is 10 years' jail and a fine on each charge.

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