Jail for student who conned 54 people of $15,200 in online scams

SINGAPORE - She posted advertisements online claiming she had tickets to concerts by foreign stars and to local attractions, among other items, for sale.

The scam netted Sangeethana Natasha Sylvia Sarvanan, 21, a total of $15,276 over nine months from 54 people.

On Friday (Feb 2), the part-time polytechnic student, who faced 59 charges, was jailed for 19 months. She admitted to 16 charges, including one of theft.

The court heard that some offences were committed while she was out on bail after her arrest in May last year.

Between October 2016 and June last year, Sangeethana posted advertisements on Carousell and Facebook. Interested buyers were told to contact her via WhatsApp or Carousell's messaging feature.

"In fact, the accused did not have any of the items available for sale, and had no intention or capacity to procure and deliver the items to the prospective buyers,'' Deputy Public Prosecutor Tow Chew Chi told the court.

To avoid detection, she maintained multiple accounts with different usernames.

After agreeing on the price of the items, the buyers were told to transfer either the full sum of money or a deposit via Internet banking into her bank account or those belonging to friends and family members.

She had lied to her friends and family that the money was payment for doing online work or from her father.

The items she claimed she had for sale included concert tickets for Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Britney Spears.

Buyers made police reports after she became uncontactable after receiving their money.

In the July 5, 2016, theft case, the court heard that Sangeethana stole her friend's mobile phone and sold it for $400 the next day. The theft was discovered when the buyer tried to trade it in at a mobile phone shop.

Sangeethana had a similar conviction in April last year when she was given a short detention order and community service order.

She could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each cheating charge. For theft, the maximum penalty is three years' jail and a fine.

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