Woman cheated 22 victims of $1.7m in inheritance scam

SINGAPORE - A woman claimed that she had inherited money from her late father in Pakistan which came from the sale of his land worth $7.4 million.

However, Aisha Pari Mohamed Ayub spun tales about having to pay the authorities in Pakistan and Singapore before she could get hold of it.

She asked people for money and vowed to repay the loan with interest once she received her inheritance as a "courtesy gift" or "token of appreciation".

But over a span of seven years, Aisha duped 22 victims aged 50 to 78 of $1.74 million, in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $225,900.

On Friday (Jan 19), the 55-year-old was convicted of 20 of 381 charges - 18 of cheating and two of abetting to forge a Subordinate Courts' letter and a letter from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. No restitution has been made.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lim Kah Hwee said that in 2010, Aisha was running a shop at the Golden Landmark mall when she came to know Ms Aldebab @ Saripah Abu Bakar, 65, who placed her artwork for sale in Aisha's clothing shop.

Aisha conceived her plan in October that year. She began to tell everyone of her huge inheritance from her late father in Pakistan. She sought money from people, purportedly to help her pay fees to the Pakistan and Singapore authorities.

She also relied on religious ideas, such as telling her victims they could make donations or take their parents on pilgrimages with the extra money.

As Ms Aldebab could not help her financially, Aisha used her as an agent to source potential victims. Ms Aldebab was not aware that Aisha was lying about her inheritance.

After her arrest on Dec 15, 2011, Aisha absconded and did not report to the Commercial Affairs Department for her bail extension.

Before her re-arrest in March last year, she came up with another scam, telling victims that she was entitled to receive money from the sale of her matrimonial home in Saudi Arabia arising from her marriage annulment.

DPP Lim said Aisha employed various tactics to substantiate her claims, induce new and old victims, and delay payment.

These included getting one of her first victims, a distant relative, and a man called Rasul to forge documents purportedly issued by public agencies and institutions; instigating Rasul to forge bank statements; issuing dud cheques; and claiming to suffer from cancer.

Aisha admitted to using some of the money to gamble at Marina Bay Sands casino, said DPP Lim. She claimed she took substantial amounts to Jakarta where she allegedly handed the cash to her former husband Hani Ghalib Masoudi.

She also used some of the money obtained from fresh victims to make partial repayments to old victims to induce them to deliver more money to her.

DPP Lim sought a six-week adjournment for sentencing so that victim impact statements can be recorded.

District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt adjourned the case to March 6.

Aisha is represented by Mr Danny Chua.