Youth used particulars of others to apply for mobile phone plans, cheated Singtel of more than $30,000

SINGAPORE - Using a list of names and NRIC numbers from a community event, a 20-year-old man applied for 49 mobile phone plans online and obtained the phones for free or at a discount, cheating a local telco of more than $30,000.

This was just one of four methods Ronny Lee Jia Jie used to cheat others of almost $33,240 from December 2014 to May last year.

On Thursday (April 12), Lee, who is serving his national service, pleaded guilty to 16 cheating charges. Fifty other charges of a similar nature will be considered during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Yu Chou told the court that in November 2014, Lee volunteered at a brisk walking event held by Nee Soon East Community Centre, where he was given a list of event participants and their NRIC numbers for attendance marking.

Ronny then used the list to make 49 mobile line applications on Singtel's website.

"For each application, he would select the more expensive mobile plans so that he could obtain a bundled mobile phone for free, or at greatly discounted prices," said DPP Teo.

Court documents revealed that Lee obtained at least three iPhone 6 Plus handsets under a Combo 12 subscription - Singtel's most expensive monthly plan - for free. An iPhone 6 Plus retails at $1,160.

He subsequently cancelled 21 applications out of guilt before the phones were delivered, but went through with the other applications and obtained 28 phones worth $30,152 in total.

He sold nine of them to secondhand dealers and on online marketplace Carousell for a total of about $7,000.

Twelve of the unsold phones were recovered and returned to Singtel.

Lee has made full restitution to the telco for the nine sold phones and seven unaccounted ones.

The court also heard that between July 2015 and May 2017, Lee cheated eleven victims a total of $2,486 on Carousell by failing to deliver items, including concert tickets, after payment had been made to him.

He has made partial restitution to the victims.

In 2016, Lee also cheated local courier delivery service FastFast of $518.10 and swindled three victims of $820 through bogus investment scams. No restitution has been made in both cases.

Lee's lawyer, Mr Cory Wong from Invictus Law Corporation, said his client is remorseful and has already made restitution of 84 per cent.

Lee will be back in court on April 19.

For each charge of cheating, he can be jailed for 10 years and fined.