Woman gets over 7 years' jail for offences, such as cheating, involving nearly $1.66m

SINGAPORE - By using different methods, a woman targeted 27 victims to commit a slew of offences, such as cheating, involving nearly $1.66 million in total.

Grace Yee, now 49, was sentenced on Wednesday (June 1) to seven years and five months' jail after she pleaded guilty to seven charges for offences that included cheating and criminal breach of trust. Four of these charges involved more than $1.4 million.

Fourteen other charges, including those linked to the remaining amount, were taken into consideration during sentencing.

She committed all of her offences over five years.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew said that between March 2015 and March 2016, Yee collaborated with a married couple to incorporate and operate a company called Greenwich Capital.

The court heard that it dealt with fund management, including investment in foreign exchange, on behalf of clients.

She was then entrusted with more than $1.77 million as investment capital for forex trading on behalf of the firm and four people.

She later misappropriated nearly $1.2 million of the amount. A woman who was a former investor of Greenwich Capital lodged a police report in November 2016 after not getting investment returns or her initial capital from the company.

Commercial Affairs Department officers arrested Yee on Dec 13 that year and she was released on bail later that day.

Instead of lying low, she got to know a man identified as Mr Edmund Yeo in August 2018 and committed more offences.

She offered to trade in forex and commodities on Mr Yeo's behalf.

Mr Yeo later told his relatives and friends about the offer, and four relatives and one of his friends then passed him money to entrust to Yee to trade on their behalf.

Between August and November 2018, she was entrusted with more than $160,000.

She later misappropriated nearly $150,000 from it.

In addition, Yee was an undischarged bankrupt when she obtained a loan of more than $67,000 from Mr Yeo but did not tell him about her financial situation.

The court heard that he would not have given her the loan if he was aware of it.

The DPP said: "After failing to repay her loans... Grace lied to Edmund that she was selling her real estate in Cambodia and deceived him into believing that once she had sold the real estate, she would be able to repay the loans.

"Grace also lied to Edmund that if he stopped lending her money, she may not be able to sell the Cambodian real estate and obtain the funds to repay Edmund. In fact, Grace did not own any real estate in Cambodia."

As a result, she duped Mr Yeo into delivering another $53,992 in loans in 2019.

Around October that year, Yee sent him a a photograph of her hand appearing to deposit a cheque into a cheque deposit box, and lied that she could then repay her debts as she had "just received the proceeds of the sale of her Cambodian property".

She then sought Mr Yeo's help to sign a document to appoint a Singapore law firm in a civil suit filed by a Greenwich Capital client. Court documents did not disclose details of this suit.

DPP Yew told the court: "On Oct 1, 2019, being deceived by Grace... Edmund made a valuable security by signing the...document whereby Edmund acknowledged that he was under a legal liability to pay (the law firm) for its legal services rendered and a legal right over (his) assets in the event of default made in favour of (the firm)."

After signing the document, Mr Yeo paid $55,000 in instalments to the firm between October and December 2019.

In an unrelated case in 2020, Yee dishonestly induced a limousine driver to allow her to use his credit card on 51 occasions to pay for forex trading and personal expenses totalling more than $29,000.

"As a result of these credit card transactions, (the driver) incurred credit card liability of $40,124, inclusive of interest and other bank charges, which he later made payment for," said the prosecutor.

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

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