Woman jailed over ticket, foreign exchange scams

Salleha Mohd Aris received about $492,000 from 102 victims. She was sentenced to jail for 41 months and a week.
Salleha Mohd Aris received about $492,000 from 102 victims. She was sentenced to jail for 41 months and a week.

A woman who misappropriated nearly $500,000 - through a scheme that involved discounted tickets to Singapore attractions and another that offered better currency exchange rates - has been sentenced to jail for 41 months and a week.

Salleha Mohd Aris, 35, admitted on Monday to five counts of misappropriating money entrusted to her and 15 counts of deceiving victims into believing that she would offer higher exchange rates for foreign currencies, which she knew to be false.

Another 164 charges were taken into consideration in sentencing.

The offences occurred between May 2015 and December last year.

Salleha's crimes stem from two schemes she ran.

Since 2010, she had been offering discounted admission tickets to attractions such as Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Sentosa, KidZania and Universal Studios Singapore.

She had obtained these tickets at a slight discount by making bulk purchases from travel agencies and other sources a few months before the tickets would be used.

In late 2013 or early 2014, she started providing currency exchange services at higher than market rates.

The court was told that the money she received from the currency exchange scheme was used to fund her bulk purchases of admission tickets, or to exchange at market rates to pay off earlier customers.

Salleha eventually failed to deliver the admission tickets and foreign exchange transactions to multiple victims as promised, when the losses she made from the currency exchange services accumulated.

The court heard that she received about $492,000 from 102 victims - $67,364 from 87 victims who had given her money for the admission tickets, and $424,630 from 15 victims who were deceived into believing that she could offer much higher exchange rates.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Li-Ting said that while Salleha managed to return $174,258, she was merely using the money she received from other victims to do so.

She could have been jailed for up to seven years and/or fined on each charge of criminal breach of trust. The maximum penalty for cheating is 10 years' jail and a fine per charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2017, with the headline 'Woman jailed over ticket, foreign exchange scams'. Print Edition | Subscribe